The election may be over but according to some Canadians, there’s still much left to be done when it comes to the administrative side of things. Voters took to Twitter to express their feelings on how things work when it comes to casting a vote. Yahoo Canada spoke to several political science experts about the likelihood of things changing by next election.
The fact that a party could potentially win over 50% of the seats and 100% of the power with less than 33% of the vote would be considered undemocratic in most parts of the world. In Canada, we call it business as usual due to FPTP. Electoral reform is an urgent priority. #elx43
— Matt W. (@Historian_Matt) October 15, 2019
Some quick math (hope I got it right) based on 2019 Q3 Stats Canada population info on what possible Electoral Reform could look like. Definitely too much power in the east, but unsure enough to make any type of difference in this election @dstaples pic.twitter.com/eWuryrCWtR
— JR (@jrowda) October 22, 2019
Tonight the Green Party of Canada received almost 950,000 votes, and the Bloc Qc received about 1.2 million votes. Despite having almost a similar vote count, the GPC won 3 seats and Bloc won 32. That's why we need electoral reform.
— Hannah Mackellar (@hmackellar) October 22, 2019
Post #elxn43 PSA: an electoral map doesn't represent the diversity or distribution of political opinion across Canada.
Conservatives got (almost) all the seats in the West, with only 53% of the vote.
That's a call for electoral reform, not #wexit https://t.co/rVth8AsN4h pic.twitter.com/D96UviLjZl
— Rob Taller-in-Real-Life Wallbridge (@songberryfarm) October 22, 2019
If Trudeau would have came good on his promise for electoral reform like many wanted, Andrew Scheer would be the Prime Minister of Canada with a Minority Government.
— Jacob 🥅 (@paddle_down) October 22, 2019
wait — so the conservatives got a million more votes than the Liberals but Trudeau gets to form a government? yikes canada needs electoral reform this is wack
— epilepticjew (@epilepticjew) October 22, 2019
Some Canadians are frustrated with the country’s first-past-the-post system, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once promised to end. Allan Tupper, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, says the issue is an impediment for governments to pursue. In B.C., for example, there’s been three referendums on the issue, yet votes continue to choose the first-past-the-post system for provincial elections.
“There’s a lot of people who see some problems with the status quo and they’ve been noted for a long time,” he tells Yahoo Canada News. “But when they get the opportunity to change it, they don’t. And there’s been no single alternative.”
Peggy Nash, a former Member of Parliament, says that unless Canadians are involved in the issue of proportional representation, most people see electoral reform as being too complicated.
“If the status quo is working okay, maybe they think they shouldn’t opt for change,” she says.
Nash stresses that it wouldn’t be too complicated to shift electoral protocol and uses New Zealand as an example of a country that successfully moved from a British parliamentary system to one that was proportionally representative.
“They did it for a trial period and then decided to make it a permanent thing,” she says.
The final polls have closed as British Columbia begins to come in.
— Polling Canada (@CanadianPolling) October 22, 2019
CBC is called the race before British Columbia polls closed it looks like. Seems strange.
— Mr. Dowden (@SirDowden) October 22, 2019
44 minutes... That’s how long #BritishColumbia had to wait to find out we have a new minority after the polls closed. 7 hours of #electioncoverage and I need to tap out. #cndpoli #bcpoli #gotv #Elexn43 #ElectionDay #westcoastwuss #night
— Kassandra Linklater (@KLinked) October 22, 2019
Coordinating the tallying of polls across different time zones and timing the release of results is a long-standing issue in the country.
“I don’t know how they can really stop this issue, particularly the way people communicate and the availability of things online other than to make a complete prohibition on results to be released until the end of voting in B.C.,” says Tupper.
Previously, there was a blackout period on publishing results of the election until after the B.C. polls had closed. Section 329 of the Canada Elections Act read: “No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.”
But in 2012, this act was repealed. With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, the act was deemed “unenforceable” and media outlets began reporting polling results as soon as they were counted from the first ridings.
This is the entrance to my supposedly accessible #elxn43 polling station. #AccessFail #CripTheVote
Lest you think I was the only mobility-disabled person who showed up, that is somebody *else's* chair who had to use the stairs instead of a ramp. @ElectionsCan_E
— Elizabeth Patitsas 🌈🥄🦓♿️ (@patitsel) October 21, 2019
— Tattered Edge (@tatterededge) October 22, 2019
I do admire the people who volunteer on Election Day to work at the polling stations, but Methuselah seems to be manning mine and it’s taking at least 3X longer than it should to cast a ballot. Line up is almost out the door. Sigh. #Elexn43
— K Chao (@k_chao) October 21, 2019
I'm at once really happy to see so many people engaging with #CripTheVote this #ElectionDay, and furious that so many of them are disabled folks sharing stories of inaccessibility that is making it difficult or impossible for them to participate in the voting process. #elxn43
— Alex Haagaard (@alexhaagaard) October 21, 2019
Unghhhhhh the polling station damn near killed me because I swear everybody in there was wearing the strongest perfumes.
I now feel like an ice pick has been jammed into my skull.
This is a problem that needs fixing.#CripTheVote #cdnpoli #elxn43
— 🏴Bear-Minimum Halloween Name (@thesyc66) October 21, 2019
This is my polling station, no other signage at the street address (which was initially given as 33 Gerrard St. E instead of 33 Gerrard St. W). #elxn43 #cdnpoli #CripTheVote pic.twitter.com/udp1eqCKUJ
— Paulina D. (@wheelimm) October 21, 2019
This is what "voting room is on the same level as the entrance" looked like at mine. Elections Canada gives useless and inaccurate accessibility info about polling stations. pic.twitter.com/a5ceALdU4y
— AutisticMom (@AHill4168) October 21, 2019
Some people took to Twitter to vent their frustration with how polling stations were run. There were complaints of slow-moving lines, lack of accessibility for those with disabilities and lack of signage. While Tupper isn’t familiar with the specifics on Election Canada’s protocol for accessibility, he says some polling station appeared to attempt to meet the standards. The poll he visited, which was located in a modern building, had signage that detailed how it met accessibility standards.
“I think Elections Canada has become more effective in promoting voting and in urging different groups to vote,” he says. “You have to have the means to do that but they’ve been much more open to experimentation,” he says.
Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, says Canada is one of the easiest places to vote, and is often used as an example for other countries.
“Canada has as many polling stations as the United States does, and we are one tenth the population,” he says. “Very few people have to go more than a block or two to cast a ballot. Elections Canada has made a point that all its polling stations are made accessible.”
In an email to Yahoo Canada News, Diane Benson with Elections Canada says that there are accessibility criteria returning officers must follow when choosing polling locations and voter cards that are sent to electors show that a site is accessible. In the rare instance that there is an issue, voters with accessibility issues can be transferred to a nearby accessible station. There are also accessibility feedback forms at the site and on the Elections Canada website.
Elections Canada consults with disability groups and use the feedback forms to better understand needs and improve services.