Concern raised as municipal elections set to fall on Diwali

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Some Ontarians who celebrate Diwali are criticizing the fact that the province's municipal elections fall during the South Asian holiday, which many liken to Christmas.
    
Municipal election dates are fixed under a provincial act, and the government says those who can't make it to the polls on election day can vote by mail, at advance voting stations or by proxy.
    
But some argue those suggestions put their communities at a disadvantage.
    
Ryan Singh, the chair of the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association, says the conflict with Diwali could lead to lower voter turnout among those who celebrate the festival, affecting their political representation in communities across the province.
    
He wrote to the province calling on it to change the election date but says he hasn't received a response.
    
Melissa Diakoumeas, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, says the election date is determined by an act that sets it for the fourth Monday of October.
    
She suggests those who cannot vote on election day use other available options such as advance, proxy, mail-in or internet voting as available.
    
Ayesha Khan, a Toronto voter and campaign volunteer says the majority of voters cast ballots on election day and having the election on Diwali disadvantages those who celebrate it.