Pauline Mundy, with multipoo Joe, said ballot was challenging. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Brisk pace at downtown Maple Ridge polling place

#MRvotes2018: Two ballot counting machines break down

Voters may have to wait a bit tonight for all the counting to be done before the final results are in for the 2018 Maple Ridge municipal election.

Ballot-counting machines at two polls, Yennadon and Eric Langton elementaries, broke down halfway through the process Satuday, requiring counting to be delayed until other machines were available. Elections officer Laura Benson said it’s not certain by how much the process will be delayed, pointing out the machines are old.

Busy voter turnout at the advance polls earlier in the week showed greater interest than the 2014 election.

Final advance voting numbers showed that 9.3 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, compared to 2.8 per cent in 2014, Benson said.

The higher turnout could be linked to Maple Ridge’s population growth, the plebiscite on garbage collection, information cards mailed out and double the number of advance polls, said Benson.

People who showed up to vote Saturday at Eric Langton elementary had a variety of reasons for casting their ballot. The parking lot was busy as a steady stream of people entered the polling place.

Brad Hokanson didn’t like the City of Maple Ridge’s approach to business. He wants to expand his house and was told he’d have to pay $150,000 in order to extend the sewer. “I’m not going to upgrade their sewer line on my dime.”

The approach starts at the top, he said. “We have to be development friendly. We have to bring business to the area, not chase it away.”

Gedda Rahmaty showed up to vote because of the general issue of homelessness, but realizes it’s not an easy issue.

“This is a thankless job. Everybody is going to criticize the next one. They can only do what they can do.”

For Pauline Mundy, making the selection between 25 council candidates on the ballot was a challenge, compared to federal elections where more candidates are identifed by political parties. “Unless you really know them, you have no clue,” Mundy said.

For Amabile Ranta, “I think how we handle the homeless is an issue. Just providing housing is not enough and I kind of agree with that.”

John Lever voted because he didn’t want what’s happened in U.S., with low voter turnout and Donald Trump as president, to happen in Canada.

“I came out to vote today because of the U.S. Keep it going up here,” he said.

The results of the referendum on city-wide garbage pickup won’t be known until early next week.

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Gedda Rahmaty said homelessness is a tough issue. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Sign directs voters to the ballot boxes. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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