Seven Ontario election polling stations will have certain individual polls remain open past originally scheduled closing times due to “temporary interruptions”, Elections Ontario says.
Voters were casting their ballots Thursday to choose a victor in the hotly contested race that’s pitting Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives against the New Democrats led by Andrea Horwath. The election is also raising questions about whether the governing Liberals, who have held power in the province for the past 15 years, will retain official party status.
But much like the campaign, the voting process hasn’t had a smooth road.
Elections Ontario confirmed earlier Thursday they’ve had to extend voting hours at seven of the province’s 7,177 polls.
Each of the following ridings will have individual polls remain open for an extended period of time.
Two polls in the eastern Ontario ridings of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell and Bay of Quinte will remain open later with the former closing at 10:30 p.m. (012) and the latter (016) at 9:25 p.m. due to a fire alarm disruption. The Toronto-area riding of York South-Weston will have one poll (406) close at 9:40 p.m.
A poll (032) in the northwest riding of Kiiwetinoong will close at 1 a.m. E.T., Simcoe North polls 033 and 034 will close at 9:25 p.m., due to a school lockdown and York-Simcoe will have one of its polls (008) close at 9:55 p.m. and another (006) at 11:25 p.m., also due to a school lockdown. Finally, the London-area riding of Essex has one poll (033) that will now be closing at 9:20 p.m. due to elevator service disruption.
In a statement, Elections Ontario said the results of those districts will not be released until all of the polls are closed.
WATCH: Andrea Horwath comments on polling problems at certain election stations
When asked about the issues, Horwath told reporters it was for Elections Ontario to “deal with.”
“The most important thing is that every voter who wants to vote has the chance to vote and so [if] there have been problems and they had to keep those polling stations open longer than that is the right thing to do,” she said.
Early in the day a number of voters took to social media to complain of problems with the new technology that’s been deployed across half of the province’s voting locations in a bid to cut down staffing levels and speed up results.
But Elections Ontario said 99.6 per cent of the polls currently using the new scanning and tabulation machines are working as expected.
“The few voting locations that are experiencing technical issues are being addressed if they have not already been rectified,” the organization said in a statement. “In the event of a technical issue, poll officials will revert to the traditional paper method of servicing electors, the same process which is in place at polls where technology is not being used for voting.”
Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne and Ford voted Thursday morning in Toronto while Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner cast his ballot in Guelph – where he hopes to break through and become the province’s first Green MPP. Horwath voted during the advance polling process in her own riding of Hamilton.
—With files from The Canadian Press