Canadian election ‘clerical error’ leaves Ontario man questioning vote-by-mail system – CityNews Toronto

An Ontario man was left questioning the vote-by-mail process after the kit he received contained a different ballot.

Craig and his wife joined 1.2 million Canadians this year in requesting a vote-by-mail package for the federal elections. When their Elections Canada kits arrived, they opened them together only to find that the instructions did not match the ballot.

“The instructions attached to the ballot specifically state that I must ‘clearly print the first and last name of the candidate of my choice on the ballot,’” he tells CityNews. “He keeps saying ‘don’t write anything else on the ballot.’

It turns out that the ballots they both received were the normal ballots that already contained the names of the candidates. “There are no instructions in the package on how to fill out a regular ballot,” he says.

Concerned about the possibility of spoiling the ballots, Craig contacted Elections Canada for clarification.

“I contacted the first person and explained what the problem was. He said it was a mistake and that we will send him the two corresponding ballots, but that we would have to contact our regional office. “

However, the regional office told the Pickering resident to ignore the instructions and fill out the ballots as he normally would.

That left him questioning the process. “I said, well, you don’t really have much integrity, do you?”

According to Matthew McKenna of Elections Canada, it is believed to be a clerical error on his part.

“Once the nomination process is closed and the regular ballots are printed, voters who vote by special ballot at their local Elections Canada office will often receive a regular ballot to use, rather than the special ballot on which they must write the name of the candidate of their choice ”, he explained.

According to McKenna, this is done to simplify the process for the voter. When they do this, your “regular” ballot is still sealed in the series of security envelopes so your vote is kept secret.

“In this case, it appears that the regular ballot was accidentally included with the voter’s vote-by-mail package, rather than a special ballot,” says McKenna. “As long as the marked ballot is sealed within the security envelopes, it will continue to enter a ballot box (inside the internal envelope, indistinguishable, at that time, from the other ballots) to count the night of the elections.”

Craig discovered online that British Columbia vote-by-mail kits contained a different set of instructions than Ontario. Instructions that, if received with a ‘special ballot’ or with a ‘normal ballot’ would provide adequate orientation to the voter.

“It’s a small thing, but for anyone with a comprehension problem, it could be a deciding factor for voting or for the vote to be counted,” he says, asking why things would be done differently between the two provinces.

“It seemed to me as if I could not understand it, what is someone who is not familiar with the processes, maybe voting for the first time? What are they going to do with it?”

Turns out, the type of ballot received wasn’t the only problem for Craig and his wife.

“The ballot didn’t even fit in the envelope. We ended up having to cut the edge because it was about 1/8 inch too big. “

Craig wasn’t the only one to contact CityNews regarding problems with his mail-in ballot.

“My team is missing the crucial ballot,” wrote Tony Giverin. “This is the sheet of paper that is inserted into envelope A. Is this an isolated case or did others receive the same incomplete kit?”

McKenna says poll workers work hard to ensure processes are followed accurately to avoid any confusion among voters, but mistakes do happen from time to time.

“We apologize to this constituent for any inconvenience or concern.”

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