Advance voters at Elections Canada offices face long lineups before cut-off
Voters lined up for hours at Elections Canada offices, some missing the cut-off time
Voters hoping to cast a ballot at an Elections Canada office on the last day before Oct. 19 were met with long wait times, adding to similar complaints over the last few days of advance polls.
Voters had until Tuesday at 6 p.m. to vote at an Elections Canada office. It was one of the many ways voters could cast a ballot before election day.
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"They closed the doors at five. You're supposed to be able to vote until six," said Stephanie Lam, who stood outside the Elections Canada office on West Hastings Street in Vancouver for at least an hour with her four-month-old baby Charlie.
Lam was one of about a dozen people lined up outside as police stood guard. The Vancouver Police Department said there was a disturbance at the door, but didn't elaborate.
The office closed at six, as posted, and Lam left, ballot uncast.
The scene was similar at an Elections Canada office on West Broadway, where more than a dozen people managed to get inside before 6 p.m. after waiting one to six hours in line.
Voters had a common complaint.
"The lineups were crazy and there was only one person doing the job, basically," said Simon Church.
More people voting in advance
Elections Canada faced a litany of complaints about long lineups during advance polling over the Thanksgiving weekend, with some saying they waited more than two hours to vote.
The chaos even caused at least one elections information officer to angrily quit and storm out of a Vancouver Centre advance polling station on Monday, frustrated by ongoing waits that voters were experiencing and the lack of help from Elections Canada.
An estimated 3.6 million people voted during the four days of advance polls — a 71 per cent increase over advance polls in 2011.
Elections Canada added 25 per cent more advance voting time, said spokesperson Dorothy Sitek. In B.C., it also increased the number of polling sites to 602 from 544 in the last election.
"It's also worth noting that voting at Elections Canada offices has been available seven days a week since early August when the election was called," said Sitek.
"Electors vote at their own convenience and Elections Canada has worked to provide even more access to eligible voters for this federal election."
With files from Dan Burritt