Special ballot only option for voters in self-isolation, Elections Canada says

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The special ballot can be delivered to the local Elections Canada office or, on election day, to the polling station.  (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)
The special ballot can be delivered to the local Elections Canada office or, on election day, to the polling station. (Jane Robertson/CBC - image credit)

People on P.E.I. who will be in self-isolation under COVID-19 health orders on federal election day will have only one option to cast their vote — by special ballot, Election Canada says.

The deadline to apply for the special ballot — online at the Elections Canada website — is Tuesday at 6 p.m.

A voting kit will then arrive in the mail.

The elector can choose to mail their vote back, but it won't count if it doesn't arrive by the time polls close on Sept. 20.

Françoise Enguehard, media advisor for Elections Canada in the Atlantic region, says the safest method is to ask a trusted person to deliver the envelope to the local Elections Canada office or, on election day, to the polling station.

"People should not panic. The key here is to apply for a voting kit before [Tuesday] at 6 p.m. local time," she said.

"That voting kit will come from their riding, so very close to home, and in all likelihood will be arriving long before next Monday."

The ballot will look different than those at the voting booths. Electors will not check a box for the candidate, but rather print the name of their preferred candidate on a blank ballot. The ballot will not necessarily be spoiled if the candidate's name is spelled incorrectly providing the choice is clear, Enguehard said, though it's important to leave out the name of the party.

"If you write the name of the party, you have spoiled your ballot."

There are 19 active cases of COVID-19 on P.E.I. and an outbreak identified at two Charlottetown-area schools, West Royalty Elementary and Charlottetown Rural High School. Although many of those who are isolating because they are close contacts of those cases are under the legal voting age, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office says the number of close contacts is expected to exceed 400.

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