A short snap election would pose voting hurdles, says chief electoral officer

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Canada's chief electoral officer says that in the event of a snap election during the pandemic, Canadians would have better access to the polls with a longer campaign, even though a shorter one appears more likely.

Stephane Perrault says the time required to send out up to five million mail-in ballots, work with remote communities and install health measures for a voting amid a deadly second COVID-19 wave demands a longer writ period.

However, Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski says that if the Liberal government triggers an election, it would likely result in a shorter campaign so the Grits could ``take advantage of their popularity at the time.''

Perrault says local returning officers would not have offices, computers or poll workers at the start of a sudden campaign, triggering a logistical scramble.

Perrault says Elections Canada estimates an election amid the pandemic will add at least $50 million in costs for items ranging from masks and hand sanitizer to prepaid postage and health-awareness campaigns.

On Wednesday, political brinkmanship over a parliamentary committee issue came to a head in a confidence vote that could have sparked a federal election, which was averted when the NDP opposed the Conservative motion that prompted the showdown.