Public health measures in place at Calgary polling stations

Due to the possibility of long lines, it's also important to remember that, as long as a voter is in line when the polls close, they can still vote

Calgary Herald 4 minute read September 20, 2021

Advance polls at the Renfrew Community Association were around the block in Calgary on Monday, September 13, 2021. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

Canadians head to the polls Monday to cast their votes in the federal election, as Elections Canada asks people for patience as they implement public health measures.

Polling stations in Alberta are scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. Monday and will remain open until 7:30 p.m. Though the voting process is the same as previous elections, a number of health measures are in place to protect electors and staff as the country endures a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections.

This includes measures such as physical distancing, mandatory masks and single-use pencils.

“We do know that due to physical distancing efforts the lineups at polls (Monday) may be long, but we do ask for patience as we implement these safety measures,” said Elections Canada spokeswoman Leanne Nyirfa.

“Staff will be working really hard to get people through as quickly as possible.”

Still, people should be prepared to wait outdoors, Nyirfa said.

Anyone who is in line when polls close will be allowed to vote.

“Staff will stay until every person who’s there has gone through,” she said.

Masks are required at all polling stations in Alberta and there will be Plexiglas barriers between election workers and voters. Masks will be available at the polling stations for anyone who forgets to bring their own.

There will be single-use pencils available or people can bring their own writing tool, including a pencil, pen or Sharpie. Every polling station will have hand sanitizer available and staff will clean the area between voters.

Nyirfa said it’s important that voters head to their assigned polling station Monday.

“You need to check your voter information card and the polling location will be on the back of that card,” said Nyirfa. “If you do not have a voter information card, it means you may not be registered to vote, but that’s OK, you can still vote. You just need to contact Elections Canada to find out where your assigned polling station is.”

Federal election 2021

Voters can then register at their assigned polling station.

To contact Elections Canada with questions about polling stations or how to vote, visit the


or call 1-800-463-6868.

“The polls are going to look a lot like what we’ve seen throughout the past 18 months in public locations,” said Nyirfa.

Polling stations will

not be subject to the capacity limits

the Alberta government has imposed on places that choose not to verify people’s vaccination status. Even with the provincial government’s restrictions exemption program launching Monday, there will be no changes to the voting process.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, said proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place and cast a ballot.

“Please vote. Elections Canada has measures in place to support physical distancing, masking and other ways to reduce transmission,” Hinshaw said.

Voters need to bring a government-issued piece of identification, such as a driver’s license, or two other pieces of ID — both must show the person’s name and one must include their address, such as a health card and utility statement.

A person can also declare their identity and address in writing and have a person who knows them — who is assigned to the same polling station — vouch for them.

A full list of acceptable forms of identification is available on Elections Canada’s website.

Ahead of election day, 196,303 Calgary voters cast their ballots during the advance polls last weekend. This is 1,080 more than during advance polls for the 43rd general election in 2019 — which saw 195,223 advance poll votes.

In Alberta, 627,640 voters cast a ballot in advance polls, which were open from Sept. 10 to 13. This was up from the 604,300 votes cast during advance polls in 2019.

There is also expected to be a greater number of mail-in ballots this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Voter turnout in Alberta generally for the last election was 69.2 per cent, and nationally it was 67 per cent,” said Nyirfa.

The number of registered electors — those registered who are expected to vote — in Alberta is 2,626,335. About 35 per cent of those voters are registered in Calgary.