Few complaints about voting in first pandemic federal election

Despite some obvious challenges, Canada's first national pandemic election seems to have gone pretty well around Atlantic Canada.

Lines had already formed when the polls opened at 8:30 Monday morning -- a good indication of an engaged electorate anxious to have their say.

"Voting is important to me. I personally wasn't inspired by many of the choices of this election, or even why we're having an election, but I do think it's important we get out an exercise our voice when we have a chance," voter Bob Daigle told CTV News.

"We felt it was important to get out early, get in front of the crowds and looking forward to seeing the turnout," said Zach MacDonald outside a polling station.

Others, though, were less enthusiastic.

"My thoughts on this year's election is that it never should have happened," said Celeste Hamilton

"We didn’t need an election during a pandemic; we have enough problems as it is."

Still, problems seemed relatively few and far between for the agency responsible for running the election during a once-in-a-century pandemic, although there were some issues with voter information services on the Elections Canada website.

Overall, though, a pretty well-oiled machine, according-to officials, who acknowledge staffing had been a problem.

"I'm glad to say that, when the polls opened today, we had recruited 94 per cent of the people we needed, so we're all good," said Elections Canada Atlantic Regional Media Advisor Françoise Enguehard

There could be delays in determining winners in some close ridings: officials have said local mail-in ballots won't be counted until Tuesday, a longer process given that they all have to be verified.

The number of polling locations in Atlantic Canada is lower, although that varies by province.

New Brunswick is about the same as it's always been, but other places are seeing some changes.

That includes a Nova Scotia first -- a "super-poll" of 30 polling stations inside a former department store at the Mic Mac Mall.

Impressive, according to former Dartmouth Mayor Gloria McCluskey.

"I'm just so amazed at how well things are going here. So many people coming and going and nobody waiting."

The sentiment was echoed by voter Denzil David, who noted the process only took a few minutes.

"Under the circumstances, what they have achieved is wonderful," he said.