Elections Canada gave Canadians more opportunities to vote early, and they took advantage of that, with 25 per cent more voters showing up in the first two days, Friday and Saturday, of advance polls, compared to the same period in the 2015 federal election.
That worked out to about two million voters showing up across the country in those days.
“We’re just giving people more opportunities to vote… rather than just election day,” said Andrea Marantz, Elections Canada spokesperson for B.C.
Exact advance poll numbers were not to be released until today but Marantz said that anecdotally speaking, advance polls were busy, including the six locations that were open between Oct. 11 and 14 in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.
This election, the early polls were open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., for 12 hours, instead of the eight hours in the 2015 election.
“I think we’re all just hearing the same thing from the public, that they want some alternatives and they want to make it as convenient as possible,” said Marantz, noting that voting on campus is now possible.
Marantz said Elections Canada is simply trying to make it easier to vote.
People who are living on the street can also vote, said Marantz.
Often, the shelters where people are staying provide documents giving the shelter’s address as place of residence.
Those who have no identification can also vote, if they arrive at the polling station with someone who has identification and who can vouch for that person.
The election will continue using a paper ballot system, where people mark their choice and the ballots are counted manually.
“Those paper ballots are a great security device,” Marantz said. Elections Canada is always evaluating other systems, “but we haven’t found anything better yet.”
Results should start to roll in within about an hour of the polls closing at 7 p.m. on voting day, Monday, Oct. 21, Marantz said.
This election, there are 79,356 eligible voters on the list of electors in Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge.
When it comes to regular voting day, there will be 28 poll locations open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. It is specified on the voter information cards, which polling station residents must vote at.