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Elections Ontario expects results to come in rapidly tonight

'We are able to provide results and count all of those ballots very, very quickly after polls close at 9 p.m., in some cases in as little as 15 minutes,' says Elections Ontario spokesperson
Elections Ontario vote sign
File photo

If watching provincial election results roll in is as enjoyable to you as taking in a hockey game, be prepared to be disappointed tonight.

Winners in the Ontario election are expected to be determined within 15 minutes in some ridings.

Voting begins this morning at 9 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. at every voting location across the province.

Voters will be cross-referenced in electronic poll books and instead of old-style ballot boxes, most voters will insert their ballots into electronic tabulators, which count the vote. It’s expected that 90 per cent of voters will use the vote tabulator.

“We are able to provide results and count all of those ballots very, very quickly after polls close at 9 p.m., in some cases in as little as 15 minutes,” said  Jo Langham, manager of media and public engagement for Elections Ontario. “In the vast majority of electoral districts, the results… will be up in 15 minutes.”

The tabulators are local counting machines and are not equipped for online connectivity, meaning local returning officers must each call in the results, which are then posted onto the Elections Ontario website.

The hope, she added, is that the results, provincewide, will appear very shortly after polls close.

But the advance votes cast, as well as the mail-in ballots, must still be counted manually once the polls close.

In situations where there is a close call, the ballots that have been electronically tabulated may be recounted manually.

Many local voters have already cast their ballots. Provincially, Elections Ontario has indicated just over one million people, or 9.2 per cent of all eligible voters, voted during the 10 days early polls were available.

That is up from 698,609, or 6.8 per cent of eligible Ontario voters who voted in advance during the 2018 election.

Although, Langham pointed out that this year voters had 10 days of advance voting while in 2018 there were only five days available in which to vote early.

In addition, voters requested 120,000 vote-by-mail kits provincewide, up from 15,202 in 2018.

“A significant increase in this election that we were expecting because we’ve seen trends in other provinces that have held elections during the pandemic and obviously during the federal election,” said Langham.

On election day, voters must vote at the poll to which they’ve been assigned. Those who have been registered have been sent voter cards that provide the details.

Those who don’t have cards can still vote if they provide identification that includes their address. But they must still vote at a specific location.

To find out your voting location, plug your postal code into the voter information service at the Elections Ontario website. There is also an app available which provides specific information for voters.

All voters must provide identification.

In Simcoe North, the candidates are:

  • Aaron MacDonald, Ontario Party
  • Krystal Brooks, Green Party
  • Jill Dunlop, Progressive Conservative
  • Mark Douris, New Blue
  • Aaron Cayden Hiltz, Liberal Party
  • William Joslin, Libertarian
  • Elizabeth Van Houtte, NDP