More voters have already come out to vote at advance polling stations for Red Deer’s municipal election compared to 2017.
Returning officer Samantha Rodwell said in 2017 there were only five days of advance voting in just one location and 2,639 voters came out. In the first four days of advancing voting this week, a total of 2,984 voters cast their ballots at three voting locations.
“In the four days we’ve been running, we’ve already beat that 2017 total,” Rodwell said.
“We’re really hoping by having 13 days of advance voting at three separate locations, people know that they can come on out. There’s not going to be the lineups and crowding at advance vote because there are so many opportunities, and the more people that come out to advance voting means the less crowding on election day as well, keeping it a safe and efficient experience for all of our voters in Red Deer.”
As of Thursday, a steady number of people have voted. When advance polling stations opened on Monday, 732 people voted, followed by 762 on Tuesday, 769 on Wednesday, and 721 on Thursday.
“Live wait times for each voting station are available on our election website to make voting even easier. Voters can select whichever station is quickest and most convenient to them.”
She said feedback so far has been positive and the experience has been very quick.
“There really hasn’t been any substantial lineups at any of our voting stations yet. People seem to be extremely thankful for the additional cleaning and sanitization measures that our staff are utilizing.”
All voters and staff are required to wear a mask, and voting stations will operate at one-third capacity to ensure proper distancing is in place. Voters are also provided with single-use pens, or can choose to bring their own.
Red Deer voters can cast their vote for positions of mayor, councillors and school board trustees, and can also vote for the provincial Senate election and two referendum questions.
“Some people are taking longer with the ballots, but if you’re prepared and you know how you’re going to vote, it can be extremely quick. You can be in and out in five minutes,” Rodwell said.
The city is encouraging Red Deer voters to take advantage of advance vote opportunities this Thanksgiving weekend.
Red Deer voters can vote at any one of three advance polls, open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily until October 16:
• Baymont by Wyndham Red Deer at 4311 49 Ave.
• Parkland Mall at 359 50 Ave.
On election day on Oct. 18, Red Deer voters who have not already voted will have a choice of one of eight voting stations across the city.