Elections Canada says it could take up to 5 days to count every last ballot

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OTTAWA – Canadians are drawing closer to election day, when the 36-day campaign ends and a new parliament begins, but will there really be a clear winner on September 20?

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Short answer: it’s complicated.

A spokesman for Elections Canada told Granthshala.ca on Tuesday that the increased volume of mail-in ballots would change the timeline this time around.

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Local mail-in ballots, marked by voters in their rides and sent to returning officers, will not begin to be counted until at least September 21, due to Election Canada’s ballot integrity process.

“Before they start counting those ballots, there’s a step that needs to happen and it’s called an integrity check,” Natasha Gauthier said.

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This includes, among other measures, checking to see if the outer envelope has been signed by the voter and ensuring that the person has only voted once.

“These are all things that take some time, so we have said that it may take up to 24 hours for the returning officers to do those checks, those verifications, before they start counting,” she said.

Elections Canada can begin counting mail-in ballots as well as ballots from Canadian Armed Forces and imprisoned electors up to 14 days before Election Day. Returning officers may begin counting ballots cast in local advance elections one hour before the close of polling on election night

The body has issued 1,000,787 voting kits to voters living within its ride and 552,488 have been returned so far. Another 146,925 kits were sent to voters living within Canada but outside their riding, and 54,186 to those living abroad.

With the most special ballot kits requested for 10 ridings, five were decided by fewer votes in 2019 than the number of special ballots requested in 2021, meaning the outcome of the vote was decided in principle on that factor. can be sustained.

Gauthier said the body is allowing first-time voters to bring their mail-in ballots to their local polling station on election day if they missed the deadline. These ballot papers will then be sent to the Returning Officer.

“In a place like Nunavut, well, the returning office is 1,000 kilometers away from the polling place, so if voting closes at nine, the ballots that are discarded won’t be in the returning office at 930, they’re next. Going there day,” she said.

Thus, Gauthier said that it may take two to five days for the counting of votes to be over and the final results out. Although media outlets can still declare winners in advance, the results should be clear enough for this to happen.

Elections Canada will post the results of mail-in ballots at the end of each counting shift – in other words, two to three times a day after September 20.

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