Canada's unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic election was never going to be easy. The 36-day whirlwind campaign kicked off with many Canadians asking why they were even heading to the polls during a global crisis, but the Liberals pulled off a minority win, after a day of frustrations from long lines, miscommunications and site glitches.
Election results: Riding-by-riding map
11:00 p.m. EST: Liberal projected to win minority government
The Liberals are set to win the most seats in the 2021 Canadian election, currently winning or leading for 156 seats, versus the Conservatives at 123.
The popular vote is currently sitting with the Conservatives at 34.02 per cent, Liberals at 32.92 per cent.
Notably, Justin Trudeau won his seat in his Papineau riding in Quebec, Chrystia Freeland won in the Toronto riding of University-Rosedale and Bill Blair won in Scarborough Southwest.
Erin O'Toole won the election in Ontario's Durham riding, Bloc Québecois leader Yves-François Blanchet won in his Beloeil—Chambly riding and People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernie lost in the Beauce, Que. riding to the incumbent, Conservative Richard Lehoux.
9:30 p.m. EST: Long lines to vote as polls approach close
As more poll closures approach, the lines seem to growing in certain ridings. Voters are continued to be frustrated by the wait, and are concerned about when they will actually be able to vote.
Hi, as long as you arrive at your polling station before it closes, you will be able to vote. Check the hours here:https://t.co/UUL1b39CnD
— Elections Canada (@ElectionsCan_E) September 21, 2021
The general rule is that if someone is still in line when polls close, they will be able to vote.
— Shaunacitynews (@shaunacitynews) September 21, 2021
— MarIBer (@MarIBer2048) September 21, 2021
It really worries me that the @ElectionsCan_E poll worker in #SpadinaFortYork didn’t have a clear answer when I asked what accommodations were being made for those who can’t stand in line for hours. Universal voting means easy and accessible voting. #Elxn44
— Malcolm S. Ramsay (@malcolmsramsay) September 21, 2021
Went to vote at my new site >5kms from my residence in Oshawa. Drove by 2 voting sites on my way -both with small lineups -only to find complete pandemonium, traffic jam and over 400 people in line at my site. What the actual f*ck @ElectionsCan_E ?@CBCTheNational @CP24 @CTVNews
— Robyn Neal (@rlaneal) September 21, 2021
8:00 p.m. EST: Votes tallied in Atlantic Canada, Liberals with very early lead
As votes from Atlantic Canada are being counted, after the polls starting closing there at 7:00 p.m. ET, the Liberals are watching to see if the party can maintain its hold in the regions, after losing a few seats in the 2019 election, and sweeping in 2015.
According to The Canadian Press, the Liberals currently projected to outperform the Conservatives in the Maritimes.
Notable Liberal candidate Seamus O'Regan has been re-elected in his riding of St. John's South—Mount Pearl in Newfoundland and Labrador, and fellow Liberal Dominic LeBlanc is expected to win in his riding of Beauséjour, New Brunswick.
HOW ELECTION DAY WENT FOR CANADIANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Long lines cause large grievances
When Canadians arrived at their respective voting location today, several were met with very long lineups, largely connected to COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
40 min & counting.
People are giving up on voting because the lines are too long. This is 1 of many reasons calling an election during a global crisis is irresponsible #elexn44
— LeaGrie, PhD (@LeaGrie) September 20, 2021
While on the one hand, people were frustrated with the wait, others were pleased to see that people are actually coming out to vote.
My voting location is the lobby of my building and this is the line to vote. There are people behind me as well. I've lived here since 2013 and have never seen it this busy on an election day. I'm so glad people are turning out to vote.#cdnpoli #Elxn44 pic.twitter.com/ISFnGbJypd
— 🐞rachel @ homefest🐞 (@rachel_garniss) September 20, 2021
Elections Canada glitch fixed
Election Day did get off to a bit of a rocky start when there was a glitch on the Elections Canada site that prevented people from checking where their local voting station is, sparking fears of disenfranchisement of people who can't easily access information. The site is being panned as out of date by many voters who were shocked it wasn't working appropriately on voting day.
Elections Canada this morning can't tell me where my polling station is. I know where to vote, but many do not.
We have to be frank: The incompetence of Elections Canada paired with the snap election will lead to voter disenfranchisement, particularly among young people pic.twitter.com/oYwjWICz9a
— Christo Aivalis 🌹🍊 (@christoaivalis) September 20, 2021
Elections Canada website is seriously outdated. Keep the original site for gen X and Boomers since they have it cemented in their brain, but make a super accessible and easy to navigate app for everyone else. It's 2021!
— 💚Iguana Nightmare💚 (@leigh81398396) September 20, 2021
Hey local people in the know, where can my friend go to vote today in St. John’s Mount Pearl south? The elections Canada website doesn’t have a location listed and says the voting location isn’t yet available…. which seems bad since it’s Election Day.
— The Book Shepherd (@Bookshepherd1) September 20, 2021
Elections Canada did recognize the issue, which has now been resolved.
Each person's location voting location is printed on their voter information card, or, in addition to the Elections Canada website, they can call 1-800-463-6868.
Party leaders cast their ballots
Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau showed up to vote in Montreal, alongside his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and their three children.
While Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole cast his ballot alongside his wife Rebecca in Bownmanville, Ont.
When will election results be announced in Canada?
With the option for Canadians to mail-in their ballot this year, an avenue taken by some who do not want to go to the polls with COVID-19 spreading, this could mean that we will not know who won the election for a few days.
All special ballots, which include mail-in ballots, will not be counted on election night. These ballots need to be verified before they are counted, including confirming that someone did not vote by mail and in-person, and these checks can only begin after polls close.
"Returning officers will start the verification checks on the morning of Tuesday, September 21, and it may take up to 24 hours to finish them, at which point the counting of local special ballots can begin," a statement from Elections Canada reads.
"Therefore, some ridings may not start reporting results for local special ballots until Wednesday, September 22. All candidates in a riding may have representatives present at each counting location to observe the counting process."
Elections Canada also indicates that it's expected that "most of the country's 338 ridings" will report the results of their special ballot count on Sept. 21.
With the Liberals and Conservatives statistically tied in all the polls, even on the eve of election day, this could lead to a lengthy wait to determine who the next prime minister will be, if the race is in fact this tight.
The latest data from Elections Canada, as of Sept. 19, indicates that 1,014,177 voting kits issued to electors living in Canada voting by mail or at an Elections Canada office from inside their riding, with 777,094 of those returned.
Additionally, 192,743 voting kits were issued to electors living in Canada voting by mail or at an Elections Canada office from outside their riding, with 124,266 returned. Another 55,697 kits were sent to individuals living outside of Canada, with 22,472 returned.
Where can you vote in Canada's election?
Canadians can vote in-person at their assigned polling station, which can be found on your voter information card or on the Elections Canada website, based on postal code.
Voters must show one piece of government-issued identification: your driver's licence or any other card issued by a Canadian government (federal, provincial/territorial or local) with your photo, name and current address.
As an alternative, Canadians can choose to bring two pieces of identification that include your name, and at least one must have your current address.
According to Elections Canada, anyone without the acceptable forms of identification can vote if you declare your identity and address in writing, and someone assigned to your polling station can vouch for you.
"The voucher must be able to prove their identity and address," the information reads. "A person can vouch for only one person (except in long-term care facilities)."
Anyone who hasn't voted but is positive for COVID-19 on elections day will not be able to vote this year.
"We ask that any elector who thinks they may have COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus to isolate, stay home and not come to an Elections Canada office or polling place," the information from Elections Canada reads.
"Unfortunately, after Tuesday, September 14, electors who have or believe they have COVID-19 and who have not already applied to vote by mail will not be able to vote."