Social media posts are urging those not yet vaccinated against Covid-19 to vote early in the upcoming Canadian federal election, before proof of vaccination requirements enter into effect in the province of British Columbia. But Elections Canada and the provincial government say that no proof of vaccination will be required to vote.
"So vaccine passports come to BC Sept 13, exactly one week before voting day. If you're unvaxxed, hit the advance polls, Sept 10-11-12. If you don't think this is voter suppression you aren't paying attention," says an August 25, 2021 Facebook post that has been shared more than 5,000 times.
Below is a screenshot of a Facebook post taken on August 27
As of mid-August, 74 percent of British Columbians had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
A surge in Covid-19 infections among the unvaccinated prompted the provincial government to announce mandatory proof of vaccination in "social and recreational settings and events" as an incentive for people to go get the jab. It goes into effect on September 13.
Appointments to get a Covid-19 shot have since skyrocketed.
"To enter certain spaces, including indoor ticketed sporting events, indoor and patio dining in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos and indoor organized events, like conferences and weddings, people aged 12 and older will be required to show their proof of vaccination," the provincial government's website says.
No mention of access to polling stations is made.
On August 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a snap election in hopes of securing a majority of seats in the Parliament. Canadians will go to the polls on September 20.
But claiming that unvaccinated people will not be able to vote is inaccurate.
"Showing the BC vaccine card or other proof of vaccination will not be required to vote," a spokesperson for the provincial Ministry of Health told AFP on August 26.
Similarly, "Elections Canada will not require electors to be vaccinated, nor will we ask electors to provide proof of vaccination," a spokesperson for the independent federal agency confirmed.
"We encourage electors to consult elections.ca or to contact us for accurate information about the federal electoral process."
Aside from voting on September 20, there are several ways to cast a ballot for the 2021 federal election. This includes voting on advance polling days (September 10, 11, 12, 13), or by mail.
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