We will continue to evaluate our election procedures to understand what additional measures may be required to ensure the safety of voters and election workers during a pandemic. While we do not know how things will look in October 2021, we will ensure voting stations and procedures are safe for voters and election staff.
As we move closer to the election and have a better understanding of the state of the pandemic, we will be able to provide more concrete information about public health requirements for Election Day and Advanced Vote days. Please check back for updates.
We adjusted our Election operations to ensure we are prepared for a pandemic election, if need be:
- Enhanced safety measures. Enhanced public health measures such as physical distancing, dedicated entrances and exits and enhanced cleaning and sanitization will be in place. Masking requirements will be determined based upon public health guidelines and municipal bylaws in place at the time of the Election.
- Larger voting stations. Rather than 31 dedicated stations in smaller locations, we will have eight voting stations at large facilities across the City. These larger stations allow our staff to incorporate appropriate public health measures as noted above.
- More Advanced Vote days. We added extra advanced vote days to provide even more options for voters to access the voting stations in a safe manner. With three Advanced Vote stations over thirteen days, voters will have 39 opportunities to cast their vote before Election Day.
- More flexibility for voters. Between Advanced Vote days and Election days, voters will have 47 opportunities to cast their vote in the Election. In addition, The City will host a voting station map with live-time updates about wait times at all voting stations on Advanced Vote days and on Election Day, giving voters the opportunity to select a time, place and date that works best for them, while also reducing crowding at our voting stations.
- Additional voting methods. Special Ballots (commonly referred to as mail-in ballots) will be offered to eligible voters in keeping with provincial legislation.
As part of our pandemic election planning, some of our processes have changed:
- Make an appointment to file your nomination papers. With City Hall closed and many staff working from home, prospective candidates are unable to drop in to submit their forms. Instead, please contact our Returning Officer at email@example.com to make an appointment.
- Virtual Candidate Information Sessions. To reduce in-person interactions and in keeping with public health guidelines at the height of the pandemic, we moved our candidate information sessions to a virtual format. Informational videos will be available in the For Candidates section of the Elections website.
- Campaign considerations. The pandemic is a fluid situation and public health guidelines and restrictions change as active case counts rise and fall, and as new information emerges. Candidates are encouraged to consult current public health guidelines when campaigning. The following general measures are also recommended for any public interactions:
- Bring hand sanitizer to use before and after each interaction.
- Wear masks in accordance with local bylaws and public health guidelines.
- Avoid shared surfaces or items such as shared pens or electronic devices. Ensure you have disinfectant wipes for any shared surfaces or items.
- Maintain physical distance for both safety and comfort of others.