Voting with a side of pandemic

What are the ways non-US countries are adjusting to voting while in a pandemic? I know how things are going in the US (badly in many states, as is to be expected), but haven’t heard a word about any other countries. What kind of adjustments, if any, are being made? Is any country trying to go to all Vote-by-Mail because of COVID?

A by-election for the Federal seat of Eden-Monaro was held on Saturday.
Eden-Monaro in southern NSW based around Canberra has been marginal it’s entire existence and traditionally a bellwether electorate as well.

As usual it was tight with the ALP claiming the seat, by a couple of percent.

One change in procedures was that typically Australian elections are not held during school holidays (they aren’t fixed term) and a large proportion of schools function as polling stations. This by-election was deliberately held in school holidays so that the venues could be cleaned at the end of counting.

Apart from application of and adherence to the existing COVID protocols there were no problems reported. The usual options of absentee, postal and some mobile booths were in place. Australia has COVID on a fairly tight leash and we do know how to run elections here so that might not be much help to those stateside.

Australian Electoral Commission guidelines.

Eden-Monaro 2020 results FWIW

ALP holds (by 827 votes TPP 0.4%) with a swing against of 3.2%

We’re having a provincial election in Saskatchewan. The writ dropped on September 29, for voting on October 26.

Elections Sask is organising the normal voting in person, and advance voting, but is also emphasising the vote-by-mail option. Big billboards are up with pictures of people wearing blue medical masks, emphasising voting safely.

Mrs P and I talked about options, and last Saturday, we decided to apply to vote by mail.

Went to the website: Elections Saskatchewan: Voting by mail.

It gave step-by-step instructions to send in an application, with supporting ID. Simplest was our provincial driver’s licences. There was a handy little guide to taking a picture on your phone and uploading it as part of your application, very appreciated by techno-peasants such as myself: HOW TO ADD PHOTO ID TO VOTE BY MAIL APPLICATION USING A COMPUTER .

Followed the instructions and send the application in by my browser. Immediately got a registration number and a link to a personalised page where I can check the status of my application:

October 3: Submitted
October 5: Approved
October 7: Mailed

That was Wednesday it was mailed, so I’m expecting to get my ballot early next week. Will update then.

Ballots arrived today!

Each package has one ballot and three envelopes.

The ballot paper has a blank space for you to write the name of the person you’re voting for, or even just the name of the party. You can check online to see who the candidates/parties are in your riding. (We’ve got four candidates from four parties in our riding.)

We write the name or party in the blank space on the ballot.

Then we put the ballot into a “ballot envelope” and seal it. That envelope doesn’t have any personal identifying information on it, but has the logos from Elections Sask.

Then we put the ballot envelope into a “certificate envelope”, seal that envelope and write our name, address etc. on the certificate envelope.

Then, we put the certificate envelope into the “mailing envelope” and seal it. Postage paid, goes to the central office for the Chief Electoral Officer.

Finally, post the mailing envelope on or before election day (October 24), and you’re good!


Ours don’t even get mailed out until tomorow.

You can tell Elections Sask is a new at Vote-by-Mail, typical newbie overkill. Three envelopes is too many. We’ve been doing VbM in Oregon since 1999 and over time they’ve reduced the amount of paper involved to the bare minimum. Ours are returned in only one envelope and one optional security sleeve.

It’s not always been that minimal. In the first couple elections, they were using punch cards (hanging chads, anyone?) in this county and they sent those out for the first couple VbM elections. The voter had to find the number of the candidate and then remove the chad with that number. There was some other number around there (I forget what it was for) and it was too easy to get numbers mixed up. Fortunately they got rid of those after the Florida 2000 debacle.

And then for a while, there was a security envelope instead of a sleeve. That wasn’t too bad from the voter’s point of view, but for the election workers, not so nice. You see it had perforations to make it quick to open. But each perforation releases a tiny bit of paper lint when it’s torn open. After opening a few thousand of those envelopes, the election workers’ clothes were covered with that stuff. Now they can just slide the ballot out of the sleeve.

How do you vote for the town dogcatcher? Don’t tell me that’s a party position too!

Dog Catcher? Municipal elections are next month!

We’re only voting for the one person - Member for the Legislative Assembly. I can put either a candidate’s name or party in, and that works. Don’t have to punch out several chads or colour-in lots of bubbles.

The “certificate” envelope is necessary so they know which riding I’m in. Looks like all the vote-by-mail ballots for the whole province go to the central location for Elections Sask in the provincial capital. They’ll count them there and assign the votes to the appropriate riding, I guess.

The certificate envelope already has my name and address printed on the outside. I’ll just have to certify that I’m a citizen, have lived in the riding and the province for three months, and that I’m 18 or over. Sign it and I’m good. Off to the post it goes.

We have a tighter time-frame. Election began on September 29 and will be concluded on October 26. :yawning_face:

Our ballots have a QR code which I’m fairly sure has the precinct coded into it. It should not have anything more specific than that. I haven’t heard of anyone complain about that code, but I’m sure there’s some CTist out there who does.

Ah right. I was confusing you guys with those states that are mailing ballots out two months before the election. Actually, yours isn’t that much tighter than ours. Your ballots got there two weeks+two days before the election; ours are mailed out 3 weeks before, but won’t get to voters until about 2 and a half weeks before. Definitely different than the usual election. When we first went to all VbM, Oregon was ahead of most, if not all, the others in terms of when ballots were received. Now we seem to be one of the last.

Parts of the UK were due for local (municipal) elections this year in May, but those have been deferred for a year. Elections are due next May for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, as well as another tranche of local elections, but who knows whether circumstances will allow…?

By « tighter time frame », I meant that vote-by-mail ballots cannot be offered until the writ drops, dissolving the Assembly and calling the election. That was on September 29, so that was the earliest the Electoral Officer could offer signing up for mail ballots.

And now that I poke around a bit more, I see that it’s really tight, as tomorrow (Oct. 15th) is the deadline for applying for your ballot, to vote by mail on October 26. That means just a 16 day window to apply.

In other news, applications to vote by mail have gone up ten times: 4,000 appliciations last election, 40,000 applications this election:

And I did my weekend rounds, including posting our ballots with Canada Post. (Mrs P and I were both a bit busy with work the past week so put it off to today.)

Timeline is:

October 3 : Online application for ballots

October 5 : application approved

October 7: ballots mailed out by Elections Sask

October 13: ballots received chez Pipers

October 17 : ballots posted.

Election is nine days from now.


Timeline is:

October 3 : Online application for ballots

October 5 : application approved

October 7: ballots mailed out by Elections Sask

October 13: ballots received chez Pipers

October 17 : ballots posted

October 20: Ballots received by Elections Sask!

All done, with six days to go to election day.

Frankly, I’m surprised at how quickly the post worked. I posted them on Saturday, October 17, with no mail pick-up on either Saturday or Sunday. That means they were picked up yesterday, Monday, and got delivered today, Tuesday.

Now we just wait for election day, Monday October 26.

Look at the proud boyz. They sent this e-mail to registered democratic voters in Brevard County.

“Hi (name) We are in possession of all your information You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply. We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously if I were you. (Voter’s address),” it read.

From here

Why would any one send an email like that, knowing full well it would end up in the hands of the local PD, likely the FBI, anyone involved in voting and almost certainly in the media.
It makes me wonder if it’s an actual email from an actual member of the proud boys and a real threat or if it’s fake (either the ‘recipient’ faked it or it’s just a BS email from a random person).

From the article.

The domain for the sender’s email “” was inactive by Tuesday afternoon although the site does appear to have been previously affiliated with the Proud Boys group. According to WUFT, internet records show that control over the internet address, created in March 2017, was changed Monday night.

Maybe just someone going rogue? I hope they find out who sent them.

Is that want the recipient said just based on the from line or has someone actually picked through the headers. Spoofing who an email is from isn’t exactly all that difficult.

I assume they’re not going to send out one single email, the more people that get them the bigger of a deal this will be and the more resources will get poured into finding the author(s).

An alternative way might be to follow the Kiwis lead (though for the US that horse has well and truly bolted)
Follow the science and best available medical advice.
Have the flexibility to tweak the protocols as indicated by the evidence.
Squash the pandemic (2k cases, 25 deaths in a population of 4.8mil)
Hold a normal election and win a historic majority on a track record of almost eradicating COVID and having a leader who’s simply a decent human being.
And hold two referendums, one on the personal use of cannabis and one on euthanasia while at the polls.

Provincial election is on Monday, and Chief Electoral Officer is putting out a request for more poll workers.

I’ve seen a short line-up at the advance poll in a local church I drive by on my way to work. Never more than about a dozen people waiting outside, socially distancing. One poll worker in a mask and reflective vest at the door, letting people in as their turn comes up.