Elections Canada clarifies stance on mask exemptions at polling stations

Masks at polling stations

As general voting day nears, Elections Canada is clarifying what the rules are in regards to mandated masks at polling stations.

During advance polls last weekend, there were scattered reports of masking rules being enforced unevenly. Some polling stations accepted mask exemptions, while others called the police on voters who claimed exemptions.

Masks are required for everyone who wishes to vote unless they have a medical exemption. Elections Canada says those who refuse to wear a mask for a non-medical reason will be asked to leave the polling place.

“If they have a medical exemption they should tell the poll workers immediately,” Elections Canada said in a statement to Castanet.

“People with medical exemptions will be allowed to vote without a mask unless the owner of the building has made it a condition of the lease that no one will be allowed inside without a mask.”

Online, Elections Canada says voters will not be required to provide proof of their medical exemptions.

Elections Canada is also reminding voters that you are able to register to vote, if you are not already registered, at the polling station on Sept. 20. To find your polling station, enter your postal code here.

Unregistered electors can enter their information online, print a pre-filled registration certificate and bring it with them for faster service at the polls. To register and vote, electors must prove their identity and address. Information on the ways voters can do so, including a list of accepted ID, is available online.

"I want to thank Canadians in advance for showing care and respect for their fellow citizens by abiding by the recommended health and safety protocols in place at the polls when they go to register and vote," says Chief Electoral Officer Stéphane Perrault. "I congratulate them for their participation in Canadian democracy in these difficult times and for ensuring that all participants feel safe and confident taking part in the election."

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