Early voters made their way to advance polling stations over the weekend as an unprecedented number of eligible voters cast ballots for the Oct. 19 federal election.

Turnout at advance polls unprecedented

Canadians turn out in high numbers to cast an early ballot.

With the longest election campaign in recent history coming to an end, Canadians are eager to cast their ballots – at least that’s what the numbers at the advanced polling stations are indicating.

“We’re overwhelmed – totally overwhelmed. We needed a second poll, a second box. Normally we just have the one but we should have had two. Yesterday [Friday], when we opened the poll at 12 p.m., we had people lined up at the door,” said Gayle Vallance, poll supervisor at the Fernie location. “We had 20 people waiting right at 12 p.m. and it never got shorter than that. People were waiting – some people waited an hour and a half. That was the longest wait we had.”

Vallance said that she reached out to the regional Elections Canada office in Nelson for advice, but there wasn’t much she could do. “I phoned the returning officer and told him of the situation and he said it’s the same right across Canada,” she said. “It’s wonderful that this number of people are getting up to vote but it is hard on us as officials because we don’t like to see people have to stand around for that long.”

Vallance said there were chairs provided for people’s comfort while waiting, but that was all she could do.

“It’s a long weekend and people were here voting because they were going to be away so they wouldn’t have another opportunity to vote and I think there is just a lot of interest in the election this time,” she said, adding that “I’ve pretty much been poll supervisor – central poll supervisor – for every election in Fernie since the early 1990s, and this is the busiest I’ve seen in all that time.”

The Sparwood advanced polling station saw a similar scene, with a record number of people coming out to vote early.

“Generally the advanced polls are not very busy,” said Betty Reader, poll supervisor at the Sparwood location. “We had a 165 voters on Friday and 143 on Saturday.”

Overall the Sparwood polling office saw nearly 700 early ballots cast, while the Fernie location nearly ran out of their original run of 1150 ballots by Monday afternoon. Vallance said that around 7:40 p.m., they had 1058 people vote early.

The polling staffs at both locations were busy from when the polls opened at 12 p.m. until they closed at 8 p.m., with little opportunity for breaks.

“We start at 11 a.m. setting things up and we are here until 8 p.m. and it’s tough work on the people who are working here because they don’t get any breaks for meals, we just kind of alternate positions a little bit so people can at least go and get a cup of coffee and then we try to give them time at supper time to go and get something to eat, but that is something that we organize as a group, it’s not mandated,” said Vallance.

Across Canada, 2.4 million people cast an early vote, which is a 16 per cent increase from 2011, and a record high early voter turn out.

 

Just Posted

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

22 teams compete in Sweetheart Curling Bonspiel

From February 9 to 11, the Sparwood Curling Club hosted it’s annual… Continue reading

Political theatre shines light on womens issues

The Vagina Monologues returned to Fernie last weekend for the second time,… Continue reading

Local rink heading to curling provincials

The Mens Masters East-West playdown took place in Sparwood from February 2-4.… Continue reading

Kootenay East MLA reacts to Throne Speech

Tom Shypitka says speech falls short of intended mark.

VIDEO: Traffic-sign abiding Fernie deer caught on tape

A herd of deer in Fernie, B.C. is getting attention online after stopping for a stop sign

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

NDP Health Minister calls to offer woman seat on Interior Health Board

Joyce Beddow-Buckland of Ashcroft was surprised by the call, and accepted the offer.

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Most Read