The snap election call in New Brunswick is hampering the province's ability to safely accommodate all voters.
When Randy Dickinson went to see if he could vote at his returning office, he had to go to the street sidewalk to find a spot where he can manoeuvre onto the curb, but then there's no ramp leading to the front door.
"Good grief, it's 2020," Dickinson said. "Enough is enough."
The sudden election call meant that Elections New Brunswick couldn't secure all of the polling locations it did two years ago, but it says it did ask the landlord to make arrangements for the location Dickinson visited.
On Wednesday, a solution was found along the side of the building, where there's also a COVID-testing clinic.
"First of all, I feel I have the expectation and the right to expect that I can go in the front door the same way every other voter or citizen would be able to do," Dickinson said. "Secondly, it's ironic suggesting that the way to get into this alternative entrance is to go through the COVID testing area."
On Thursday, Elections New Brunswick said Horizon Health would be moving the tent where COVID tests take place, so that the side entrance would be more accessible.
The health network also said today that it has no concerns with people using that entrance.
Another New Brunswicker also found issues.
Cassie Hall went to vote in Centreville last Saturday and wrote about her experience on Twitter:
We arrived at the building. There were no accessible parking spaces. My brother pushed me (because the ground was gravel instead of pavement) to where there was a wheelchair sign next to the entrance. There was no ramp so my brother had to lift me, and my chair, over the curb.— Cassie Hall ♿️ (@CassieH5544) August 29, 2020
I was informed that the ramp is coming but isn’t here yet. But no fear! They said that it was okay because “my big strong bother was with me.” I did not confront the lady who I knew was doing her best to make light of the situation. But it’s not a light situation. Not at all.— Cassie Hall ♿️ (@CassieH5544) August 29, 2020
The situation has caught the eye of campaigning politicians acknowledging the need for legislation.
"A staff person was working temporarily for us who was in a wheelchair and she needed to have access to the office, so it needs to be front of mind," Green Party Leader David Coon said.
"I've tried the diplomatic approach, the advocate approach, the incremental approach," Dickinson said. "I don't have much time left. I'm upset. I'm angry."
Elections officials also say they're allowing curbside voting. That offer was made to Dickinson, but he says he'll likely vote at a different returning office – one that he can enter through the front door.
He also said he is considering filing a human rights complaint because of the situation.