‘It’s frustrating’: Sask. man who works in Texas says he can’t vote because mail ballot never arrived
Published Friday, October 18, 2019 6:19PM CST
Last Updated Friday, October 18, 2019 6:52PM CST
Canadians will have a chance to cast their ballots from within our borders and beyond this upcoming federal election.
Most voters will head to their nearest polling station, but Colten Petty – currently outside of the border – is still waiting to receive his special ballot.
“It’s in the mail, it’s sent, that’s all they can tell you,” Petty said.
The 26-year-old from Tisdale, Sask. is temporarily in Odessa, Texas working as a journeyman.
He filled out his vote-by-mail application on Oct. 6, nine days before the deadline, but said he hasn’t received anything in the mail.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s scary. It’s scary to think that something that undermines democracy doesn’t bother people,” Petty said.
Elections Canada confirmed it has received and approved Petty’s vote-by-mail application.
“We can confirm that we received his application to vote by special ballot on October 6. The application was approved on October 7 and a special ballot voting kit was sent by regular mail to the mailing address he provided on the same day,” spokesperson Natasha Gauthier told CTV News in an e-mail statement.
“Elections Canada does not have jurisdiction or control over postal services used to deliver special ballot kits. We suggest you contact the US Postal Service,” she wrote.
Petty claimed he never received a tracking number for him to follow-up on his ballot, but said he has been in contact with Elections Canada hoping to find a resolution.
He isn’t the only Canadian abroad hoping to cast a ballot.
Elections Canada has seen a spike in the number of voters as a result of recent significant changes.
In January, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that expats – regardless of how long they’ve lived abroad – can vote. In the past, the limit was five years.
According to Election Canada statistics, as of Oct. 13 there were 51, 978 people on the International Register of Electors. In 2015, the number of eligible voters was 15,603.
Of the Canadians living abroad who have registered to vote, 43 per cent are in the United States.
Elections Canada has received more mailed-in ballots from Canadians living abroad than in any other federal election in history.
As of Friday, Elections Canada said it had received 21,842 ballots from international electors, the biggest turnout among expats in any federal election.
While Petty has stopped his efforts to vote in this federal election, he said he won’t stop in his quest for answers.
“I’m trying to get an answer. I’d like to see someone held accountable and the system fixed,” he said.
With files from Graham Slaughter.