Two Ottawa ridings in top 10 across Canada for mail-in ballots

A mail-in voting package that voters will receive if requested is seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Elections Canada says two ridings in Ottawa are in the top 10 across Canada for the most voting kits issued to voters in the 2021 election.

Data show more than 8,800 voters in Ottawa Centre and more than 8,100 in Orléans have requested special ballots to vote by mail or at an Elections Canada office. The figure also includes voting kits sent to electors living outside of Canada.

Ottawa Centre has the fourth highest number of special ballot kits in Canada, while Orléans is sixth. These two ridings have the largest number of voters voting by mail or at riding offices in Ontario.

Nearly 12,000 voting kits were issued to voters in Victoria, B.C., the most in Canada. Eight of the top 10 ridings for voting kits in Canada are in B.C.

Across the eight main Ottawa ridings, Elections Canada says 48,582 voting kits were issued to electors as of Monday night and 23,108 have already been returned to Elections Canada.

Elections Canada had estimated as many as three million Canadians would vote by special ballot in the 2021 campaign but, so far, that figure has come out to just over one million Canadians.

That is still significantly higher than the approximately 50,000 mail-in ballots that were processed in the 2019 campaign.

Deadlines looming

The deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot or to vote at an Elections Canada returning office is 6 p.m. Eastern Tuesday, Sept. 14.

If you vote by mail, you must return your completed ballot to the address on the pre-addressed return envelope in your special ballot voting kit. If the return address is in Ottawa, Elections Canada needs to receive your ballot by election day, Monday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m., Eastern time.

If the return address is the local Elections Canada office in your riding, Elections Canada needs to receive your ballot by the time the polls close in your riding on election day.

Elections Canada says if you are voting by special ballot from inside your riding, and you're worried you can't mail it back to Elections Canada by the election day deadline, you can drop off your completed special ballot kit at your local Elections Canada office before polls close on election day. You can also drop it off at your assigned polling place, or at any polling place in your riding on election day.

If you are voting by special ballot from outside of your riding, you must mail your special ballot kit to the address on your return mailing envelope and it must be received by mail no later than 6 p.m. EST on election day. If you drop it off at a polling place, your vote will not be counted.