Elections Canada says it will be conducting a probe after it was revealed earlier this month that nearly 205,000 mail-in ballots went uncounted during the 2021 federal election.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perreault said during a Commons House affairs committee that it was “unfortunate” that the record number of ballots was not included in the final election results.
“Obviously any late ballot is unfortunate. These are people who wanted to cast a ballot but we were not able to count them,” said Perrault.
“We’ve never had such a large-scale vote-by-mail operation. We are looking at every angle to see how it can be improved in the future.”
Ahead of the 2021 election, Elections Canada encouraged voters to cast mail-in ballots instead of attending voting stations due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are prepared to do an election if it were called tomorrow,” Electoral Officer Perreault had claimed on November 11, 2020.
Despite assurances that the agency could coordinate the vote, it announced that a “significant number” of votes were not counted.
Among those ballots were 114,583 which were never returned by post and 90,000 that were returned late.
“In fact, 90,274 mail-in ballots (local and out-of-riding) were received after the deadlines described in the Canada Elections Act (either by close of polls locally, or 6 PM ET for international/national mail-in ballots returned to Ottawa),” Elections Canada told True North.
“114,583 ballot kits were either never returned to us, or they were cancelled (for example, electors who returned their ballot kit unused because they voted in person instead). Those two numbers represent different things.”
According to Perrault, the department is confident that they will be able to deliver a report on what exactly went wrong.
“The separation within the 114,000 between those who simply chose not to vote and those who chose to vote by another means is something we need to look into. To do that we have to pry open all of the bags coming back from all the parts of the country,” said Perrault.
“That is a long process. I am confident we will be able to report on that.”