Statements and Speeches
Speaking Notes for the Chief Electoral Officer Press conference Wednesday, August 18th 2021 Location: 144, Wellington street, room 200
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- Good afternoon and thank you for being here today.
- With me are Deputy Chief Electoral Officers Anne Lawson and Michel Roussel.
- I'm here with key members of my team to talk about the 44th general election and the services that Canadians can expect from Elections Canada.
- First, let me state that we are ready to deliver a safe and secure election on September 20th.
- Over the last few days, we have been opening local Elections Canada offices across the country's 338 ridings. Our deployment will continue in the coming days and, shortly, we will be serving electors in 501 local offices throughout the election period.
- We have a broad range of information and services available directly through our website, and I want to encourage electors to visit elections.ca to access all the information they need to register and plan their voting experience.
- Of course, the COVID-19 situation will have an impact on how the election is delivered.
- For months, we have been consulting with public health authorities across the country to ensure that our services will be offered in a way that is safe for everyone.
- We have implemented a range of safety measures for our local offices, as well as for election day polls and advance polls. These include, for instance, mask-wearing, physical distancing, physical barriers and single-use pencils.
- As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to adjust our safety measures based on the recommendations of public health authorities.
- It is important to note that voters may well be assigned to polling locations that are different from the ones they are used to. That's because some of our usual locations are not available this time. In some cases, this may mean that the location is a little farther away or is in a non-traditional place.
- Voters should pay attention to their voter information card and look carefully at the location of their advance poll and election day poll. Voter information cards will be received in early September .
- Voting in person–whether at a local Elections Canada office, at advance polls or on election day–remains the simplest and most convenient way to cast a ballot.
- For those electors who prefer to vote by mail, this option will also be available. This is not a new option. In fact, Canadians have been able to vote by mail, even locally, since 1993.
- Electors who want to vote by mail should plan to do so early. They should leave enough time for their voter kit to get to them and for them to return it to Elections Canada by election day.
- They can apply by providing proof of identity and address through our online application system. This is the fastest way to receive a kit, and voters can check online to see if their kit has been issued or if their ballot has been received. For those who are not able to apply online, traditional mail-in forms are also available.
- Electors who vote by mail are responsible for ensuring that their ballot is returned in time. They should check Canada Post schedules for their region. If they are concerned about their ballot not arriving in time, they can bring it to their polling station on election day.
- It is important to note that, by law, electors who apply to vote by mail cannot change their mind later on and decide to vote another way.
- I encourage electors to plan early and choose the voting option that works best for them.
- I know Canadians are used to getting results on election night, but it will be different in this election. The count of mail-in ballots will start after election day, once the mail-in ballots that electors have dropped off at polling places have been returned and integrity checks have been performed.
- If the volume of mail-in ballots is high–as we have seen in other jurisdictions during the pandemic–it will take longer for returning officers to count those ballots. In most locations, this should be done within two days, but in some districts, it could take as long as five days, depending on the volume. In all cases, the count can be observed by candidate representatives, and daily result updates will be published.
Calls to action
- With the changes to the process, getting accurate information about the election has never been so important.
- Canadians can do their part. By registering and updating your information, you are making sure that you will get a voter information card that will tell you everything you need to know about when and where to vote.
- Make sure you are registered or check to confirm that your information is accurate by visiting elections.ca.
- Our website also remains your destination for accurate information about the electoral process, including all the safeguards we have in place to protect the integrity of the vote.
- I'd like to end today with a message about supporting our electoral democracy.
- Often, this is something we take for granted, which is perhaps a testimony to the high level of trust that Canadians have in their electoral process. This is something we can be proud of.
- But we have seen from elections around the world that this trust is fragile and needs to be supported.
- I invite anyone who wishes to support our electoral process, or who is curious to see how it's done, to come experience an election from the inside just for one day. Come work for us! Be one of more than 200 thousand Canadians who make federal elections a reality.
- I encourage everyone to take advantage of the election to get involved and to vote.
- I'm now happy to take your questions.