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Keeping seniors—and their votes—safe in our elections!

Crowds mean standing in line for long periods and potentially getting jostled. This is uncomfortable for anybody but can be especially difficult for seniors. Rush hours in the early morning and early evening should be avoided. So should lunchtime. Quieter times would be late morning or early afternoon.

If you need PPE for the vote, you could contact our campaign office at 416-299-9771 or email us: info@votetonyluk.ca. We are here to help!

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Ward 22 byelection in Scarborough-Agincourt deemed ‘essential,’ will proceed as planned Friday, city says

A byelection being held to find a new Ward 22 councillor will proceed as planned despite the fact that it is scheduled to be held a day after a provincial stay-at-home order goes into effect.

Voters are set to go to the polls on Friday in Scarborough-Agincourt in a byelection that was scheduled last year to replace former councillor Jim Karygiannis, who was ousted from office over campaign expenses.

But on Tuesday, Premier Doug Ford declared a new state of emergency for Ontario amid soaring COVID-19 case counts which threaten to overwhelm the healthcare system. Ford also said a stay-at-home order would be in effect for the entire province as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. All residents aside from essential workers are being asked to stay home as much as possible and to venture out only for essential reasons such as grocery shopping and doctors appointments.

In a statement Wednesday, the city said that the election is also deemed an essential government function and that it will proceed as planned.

“The City Clerk is confident that the voting place health and safety measures will keep electors, candidates, scrutineers and election staff safe on election day,”  the statement said.

There are 27 candidates running in the no-incumbent race and at least one of them has called for the by-election to be postponed in light of the stay-at-home orders.

Following Ford’s announcement on Wednesday, council candidate Tony Luk sent an open letter to City Clerk John Elvidge and the his fellow candidates urging that the by-election be postponed.

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“This announcement will undoubtedly affect very many voters who will no longer go to their voting places to cast their ballot on January 15th,” Luk wrote, calling on his fellow candidates to join him in asking for a postponement. 

But the city said that it has reviewed the provincial order and that elections are deemed essential.

“The City Clerk, in consultation with Toronto Public Health, has reviewed the recent provincial announcement to determine any implications for the planned by-election.

“Government services, including elections, are essential for the continuity of government. Ward 22 Scarborough-Agincourt has been without representation since September 24, 2020, and it is important that the electors are able to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

The city said that health and safety measures such as line management, reduced touch points and distancing, were successfully implemented for advance polls and that they “exceed the requirements for other business and services that have remained open.”

More than 2,200 people have already cast a ballot in the election in advance voting held on Friday and over the weekend and more than 4,000 mail-in ballots were requested. Some 1,280 of those mail-in ballots have already been tabulated, the city said Wednesday.

Polling stations will be open across the ward between 10 AM and 8 PM on January 15. Electors are required to wear a mask at all times in voting places and are being asked to stay home if they are not feeling well, the city said.

More information about voting places and procedures can be found on the city’s website.

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State of Emergency won’t stop Scarborough-Agincourt byelection, Toronto says


A mail-In voting drop box sits out front of Stephen Leacock Seniors Community Centre on Jan 11. – Dan Pearce/Metroland

Voting is essential, and residents of Scarborough’s Ward 22 can cast ballots for a new councillor on Friday, Jan. 15 as planned, the City of Toronto says.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s stay at home order takes effect Thursday, a day before in-person voting in the byelection to replace Jim Karygiannis.

The timing of the order and provincial state of emergency prompted one candidate to ask the city to postpone Election Day.

Tony Luk also wrote the 26 other candidates in the race, asking for their support.

“This announcement will undoubtedly affect very many voters who will no longer go to their voting places to cast their ballot,” he said in an open letter.

So far, though, no other candidate seems to agree, and City Clerk John Elvidge said he’s confident special measures against COVID-19 at voting places will keep voters, candidates, scrutineers and election staff safe.

“These measures exceed the requirements for other business and services that have remained open,” the city added in a release, but warned people to stay home if they are not feeling well.

More than 4,000 mail-in ballots were sent out, with 1,280 returned so far, and 2,227 other voters cast ballots at advance polls.

Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, and mail-in ballots can be dropped at boxes outside Stephen Leacock Seniors Centre and L’Amoureaux Community Centre until 6 p.m.

Unofficial results will be posted, starting at 8 p.m., at the city’s Election Services page at www.toronto.ca/byelection.

Karygiannis’ seat has been vacant since Sept. 24, 2020.Mike Adler

by Mike Adler

Mike Adler is a reporter with toronto.com and Metroland Media Toronto who covers Scarborough and other overlooked parts of Toronto. He worked previously for Metroland in York Region. Email him at madler@toronto.com