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’Technical problems’ with Elections Canada website, long lineups frustrate voters

An Elections Canada spokesperson says the agency appreciates 'electors's patience'

People line up to vote in the advance polls for the federal election on Friday, Sept. 10, in Chambly, Que.

People line up to vote in the advance polls for the federal election on Friday, Sept. 10, in Chambly, Que.

Photo: La Presse canadienne / Ryan Remiorz


Elections Canada has apologized for "technical problems" with an application on its website that tells Canadians where to vote in Monday's federal election.

The site's voter information service page (new window) usually lets Canadians find their polling station by entering their postal code and address. Voters can also search based on electoral district names.

But many took to social media Monday to complain that they were receiving the same error: We were unable to find your voting location. Please call the office of the returning officer for assistance.

The federal elections agency told CBC News those difficulties were resolved later Monday morning.

We're sorry electors were having issues with getting the information they needed. We were having technical problems with our online Voter Information Service earlier this morning, but those have since been resolved, Elections Canada spokesperson Nathalie de Montigny told CBC News via email. Everything is back working as it should. 

By Monday afternoon, however,  the agency again tweeted that it was again having intermittent technical difficulties.

Voters can also check the voter information card they received in the mail to find their location, de Montigny said, or call Elections Canada at 1-800-463-6868.

Long lineups frustrate voters 

Others complained online of long lineups, particularly in several Toronto ridings, and that some polling locations appeared to open later than 9:30 a.m. ET. or to be unprepared to receive voters.

Opening thousands of locations across the country is a logistical challenge and can take extra time sometimes, de Montigny said. We appreciate electors's patience.

The longer lineups were something Elections Canada had warned Canadians about (new window) because there would be fewer polling locations across the country  during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as additional public health protocols that were expected to increase waiting times.

Chief Electoral Officer said in June a longer campaign would be 'preferable'

In June, Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault told a parliamentary committee that, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, it would be "preferable" for Elections Canada  (new window)to administer a federal election that was longer than the minimum 36 days.

There is merit to a longer writ period in a pandemic, because everything takes more time, Perrault said at the time. In terms of recruiting and in terms of finding polling places, it does take more time. Within the parameters of the act, in my view, a longer period is preferable.

Under Canada's election laws, an election period must last at least 36 days and no more than 50. The summer campaign called last month was set at the minimum of 36 days.

Ryan Maloney (new window) · CBC News