Curbside municipal voting to be available for Calgarians who refuse to wear a mask

CALGARY –

Calgary voters will have to wear masks when marking ballots in a voting booth in both the upcoming federal and civic elections, officials said Tuesday.

But curbside voting will be available for anyone who won’t or can’t wear a mask to vote in the civic election.

Video posted to social media shows a maskless man trying to enter a polling station — which one person can be heard saying is at a school. The final day for advanced voting in the federal election was Monday.

Advance voting for the municipal election has not started yet.

A security guard can be seen standing next to people who appear to be elections workers or volunteers and are talking with the man.

A worker asks the man to leave and threatens to call 911. He responds by saying he was told police had already been called.

He then asked that his voting card be brought outside, which is refused and the video ends. It was unclear whether the man was able to vote.

“The Calgary Police Service continues to work with our federal, provincial and city partners to ensure the safety of all citizens and the enforcement of all public health orders. It is our hope to have Calgarians voluntarily comply with the health orders and our primary functions are to keep the peace and ensure public and officer safety,” read a statement from Calgary police. 

“Should health orders not be followed, enforcement and ticketing will occur as required.”

In a statement, Elections Canada said electors will be required to wear a mask “where they are required by the province, territory or region or by the landlord leasing the space to Elections Canada.”

“Electors who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons will not be required to wear one, and they will not be asked for proof of medical exemption, except for polling locations in Alberta schools, where proof of exemption is required by the school boards,” it read.

Voters who do not wish to wear a mask to vote can apply to vote by mail at www.elections.ca but the deadline is Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

The federal election is set for Sept. 20.

Elections Calgary also issued a statement, saying anyone who cannot or refuses to wear a mask will be offered curbside voting.

Masks or face shields and hand sanitizer will also be offered to all voters.

“Local elections are governed by the Local Authorities Election Act, which is administered by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs Guidance for Elections says that ‘organizers cannot deny any person their right to vote based on their refusal to wear a face mask’ (page 2),” read a statement.

“As in previous elections, curbside voting (outside the voting station) will be available for voters with a disability, or who are unable to vote within the voting station (for example, unable to wear a mask).”

Officials warned there could be wait times involved with curbside voting. Voters with a disability can also request a special ballot.

Advance voting will also be available ahead of the Oct. 18 civic election. 

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