Poll changes lead to 'bumpy start' for Ward 2 budget vote

Organizers had to scramble to find new polling sites after complications arose with some of the original locations.

Voting runs Saturday and Sunday

Last-minute polling station changes have led to a "bumpy start" for Ward 2's inaugural round of participatory budget voting.

According to reports on Twitter, voters showed up to Central Presbyterian Church and Queen Victoria Public Elementary School on Saturday expecting to be able to cast their ballots, but found no polling stations on-site.

Polls were originally planned for those locations but because of several complications, organizers had to scramble to find new venues, according to Norman Kearney, founder of Participatory Budgeting Hamilton.

He said Central Presbyterian told PBH last week the church could only host polls on Saturday and not on Sunday, the second and final day of voting. And the team, Kearney said, found out last week that the Queen Victoria site would too expensive for them to rent.

The Central Presbyterian poll has been moved to the YWCA (75 MacNab St. S) and the Queen Victoria poll has been moved to the Corktown Park Pavillion (at Forest Ave and Aurora Street.)

"All of these revised locations were advertised about three or four days ago," he said. "We found locations were as close to the original locations as possible."

Kearney said his team has posted signs at the old polling sites to direct voters to the proper locations.

More than year-and-a-half in the making, the ward-wide participatory budgeting vote is the first of its kind in Hamilton. Residents who go to the polls get to decide how to spend $1 million of taxpayers' money, choosing between 25 community-member-submitted projects on the ballot.

Kearney said he expects the confusion over the polling locations to subside and for the voting to run more smoothly as the day wears on.

"It might be a bit of bumpy start, but it's only one hour into the polls," he told CBC Hamilton around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. "We'll do everything in our power to make sure that people who want to vote are able to do so."

Ward 2 Participatory Budgeting vote

  • When: Saturday (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and Sunday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Where: Bennetto Recreation Centre (450 Hughson St. N), Cathedral Place, (252 James St. N), YWCA (75 MacNab St. S), Corktown Park Pavillion (Forest Ave & Aurora St). Voting vans will also be driving through the streets.
  • Who: All Ward 2 residents age 14 and up, including those without permanent residency/citizenship.

For more information, go to Pbhamont.ca or call 905-523-4444 ext. 112.