America isn’t the only Western country experiencing a drastic attempt to reshape elections in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Breitbart, election officials in Canada have reportedly threatened to ban its citizens from casting a vote if they show up to the voting booth without a face mask, with the only exception being if the person has a valid medical reason as to why they’re unable to don a mask.
What’s going on?
With a national election on Sept. 20 just a few weeks away, Elections Canada, the country’s government election board, announced during a recent press conference that unmasked voters, short of a medical exemption, will be turned away from polling stations.
Stephane Perrault, Canada’s chief electoral officer, made clear during the presser that medical exemptions will be allowed, but those simply choosing not to wear a mask will lose their ability to vote on that day.
“If it’s just a matter of personal choice and the mask is mandatory in the jurisdiction in which you are voting, then we will apply those rules,” Perrault said, referencing the mask mandate requirement in several jurisdictions.
Perrault said that Canadians who choose not to mask up at the voting booth are encouraged to vote by mail-in ballot in a move that is all too familiar for Americans.
Current predictions indicated that some five million Canadians are expected to cast their votes by mail-in ballot this year, compared to just 50,000 who used the mail-in option in 2019.
Also painfully familiar for Americans who experienced the chaos of the 2020 election results, Canadian officials are also predicting that as a result of the vast increase in the number of mail-in ballots, results from various elections might not be available for days.
“If it’s a very tight race and there’s a large number of postal ballots, then it can take a few days to find out who is the actual winner,” Perrault added, according to The Star.
What will likely turn that situation into an even bigger nightmare both for election officials and Canadian citizens is the fact that in Canada, mail-in ballots reportedly do not have a list of candidates, forcing voters to write in their choice.
Some voters will also reportedly be forced to travel further to cast their vote, given that a number of traditional venues, like churches and schools, are hesitant to make their buildings available due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Only time will tell how Canada’s upcoming election will play out, but it sounds like a nightmare in the making.