TORONTO – Long lineups form outside some polling stations in the Greater Toronto area after the number of polling places in many GTA ridings decreased amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleven GTA rides, including the Toronto Center, Spadina-Fort York and University-Rosedale’s downtown riding saw a more than 50 percent reduction in the number of polling stations this year compared to 2019, and the other four GTA rides reduced by more than 40 Went. Percentage less polling places.
In the Toronto Center, which saw the biggest cuts, there are just 15 polling stations for Election Day this year, compared to 91 during the last election.
Voters in various rides can be seen queuing up to cast their votes before polling stations open at 9:30 am
“I can’t believe it. I waited over an hour, just about an hour I would say, (a) to get in line that goes around the corner to vote here. I walked here Gone because I knew it would be a zoo,” said a Vaughan resident after casting his vote.
“The traffic is unbelievable. People won’t be able to park.”
Another voter described the lineup outside his polling station as “ridiculous”.
“You can see the lineup. You can see the crowd. This is during COVID. I have a kid at home so it’s not convenient for me. It’s not fun,” she said.
Elections Canada spokesman Dugald Maudsley told CP24 that voters need to “be patient” this year.
“We know that one of the most popular times to vote is after dinner, so if you can avoid that time it will help and make your time at the polling station go by more quickly,” he said. Said Monday morning.
“Be patient. This is an unusual election. We are in the midst of a pandemic. Things are going to be different this year and we want everyone to contribute to making it as healthy and safe as possible.”
Maudsley said precautions have been taken to ensure voters are safe when entering polling stations.
“There will be social distancing. Sanitation centers will be there. Everyone in Election Canada will be wearing a mask. If you don’t have a mask, we have too many, and we provide you with one,” he said.
He said those who refuse to wear masks without valid medical exemptions will be turned away from polling stations.
“If you are symptomatic we would suggest that you do the right thing, consider that you may have COVID symptoms and you are probably best not to go in and vote,” Maudsley said.
Voting is open till 9:30 pm, voters can cast their vote as long as they are in line when voting closes.