Turnout promising at advance polls
By Raymond Bowe – The Barrie Examiner October 23 2010
Judging by the number of Barrie voters who have used advanced polls, this could be one of the better turnouts for a city election.
Approximately one in 10 people eligible to vote in the election — results will be released Monday night — have already cast a ballot.
Almost 8,200 people have voted at advanced polls, city clerk Dawn McAlpine confirmed Friday afternoon.
“We’re definitely encouraged by it,” she said. “We’re hoping that will continue (today).
In the past, Saturday has been a lighter day, so if people are looking for a day to vote, Saturday tends to be fairly quiet.”
Voter turnout has been lacking in Barrie’s recent municipal elections. In 2003 and 2006, about 30% of eligible voters went to the polls.
But only time will tell if 2010 fares any better, but there are eight mayoral candidates and councillor battles in virtually every ward.
Advanced polls are open from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday at various locations throughout the city.
People certainly seem eager to vote this time around.
In the first hour of the opening day of advanced polls, McAlpine said the turnout was double anything officials had ever seen before.
She said more staff and machines were added to alleviate any delays.
“But it was the first day, and the staff were a little nervous when they see a lineup before they even open the door,” she said. “I certainly apologize for any inconvenience that anyone experienced.”
For advanced polls in past elections, McAlpine said there could be 40 people at city hall and a few at other polling stations. The city jurisdictions that have been most active at the advanced polls include Wards 1, 2 and 4. Oftentimes, it’s senior citizens who take advantage of advanced polls.
Even though the number of people who have voted ahead of time is an increase compared to previous municipal elections, McAlpine encouraged people to get it done early if possible.
“It also helps getting the results out earlier,” she said.
In previous elections, McAlpine said there have been instances were a few hundred people show up at the polls at the last minute.
“We have to process everybody’s who’s within the polling location before we can close, and that means that it takes a little bit longer for the results (to be tallied),” she said.