James Miller was happy to cast his ballot at the advance polling station at Black Knight Inn on Friday morning. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Advance poll in Red Deer draws crowds

Advance polls continue to Monday

Voters faced longer lineups than anticipated when they went to cast their ballots at the advanced election poll at Black Knight Inn on Friday morning.

“It’s a big lineup, but it’s still better than waiting until the last minute,” said James Miller of the queue of voters that stretched through the hallway and toward the front door.

At 10:20 a.m., about 90 people were waiting outside a main-floor conference room where voting booths were set up.

Some people complained about how long it took to vote.

“This is the worst I’ve seen,” said voter Marge Stephan.

But voting in advance is easier than on election day, she said.

Sonia Hunt, who doesn’t usually vote in advance, was surprised at how many voters came out. But she ended up waiting only about 10 minutes.

Advance polls opened Friday and will run until Monday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Elections Canada said at the last election, more people than ever voted at advanced polls, so hours of operation were extended this year.

During the 2015 federal election, 61,838 people cast votes in the electoral riding of Red Deer-Lacombe, and 11,677 of them voted at advance polls.

In Red Deer-Mountain View, 62,347 votes were cast, including 11,558 at advanced polls.

Voters can find the address of their advance polling station on the back of their voter information card, by visiting elections.ca, or by calling 1-800-463-6868.

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Ron Leis said he has a medical appointment on election day, so he voted on Friday at his first-ever advance poll.

“When I used to be a trucker, every time there was an advanced poll, I was gone. I think I missed two elections out of 20 years of trucking. That still isn’t bad,” said the senior.

He said he only had to wait about 10 minutes, so the line moved pretty fast.

“As far as the lineup goes, you have to wait wherever you go, even the regular poll, unless you time it just perfect,” Leis said.

Jarrett Jones, who regularly votes early, said it took about 20 minutes to vote, but Elections Canada staff were helpful.

“They have it set up nicely. They guide you,” said Jones, who is a trucker.

He said his job hasn’t been impacted by Alberta’s economic downturn, but many people are hurting, which will likely influence how they vote.

“Hotels are taking a massive hit because the guys aren’t out working. People don’t have the money to go out and eat. The auto industry out here, they’re not selling cars like they did.

“It’s a massive trickle where everyone is hit one way or another,” Jones said.

Miller said he didn’t vote for the Liberals because the carbon tax is just a “cash grab” and Trudeau can’t be trusted.

“Out West here, nobody loves us, so we’ve got to stick with the Conservatives. I’m going to give (Conservative Leader Andrew) Scheer a chance,” Miller said.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

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