Voters pack election polls in Manitoba

It's time for you to make a mark — election day polling stations are open in Manitoba.

You have until 8:30 p.m. CST to cast a ballot in Manitoba

It's time for you to make a mark — election day polling stations are open in Manitoba.

About 40 people were waiting when the doors opened at Winnipeg's Harrow United Church, in the Winnipeg South Centre riding, at 8:30 a.m.

Despite the long wait, voters offered to wait a little longer for one woman. Gillian Taronno, who is pregnant with triplets, showed up shortly after voting began and was allowed to cut to the front of the line.

"We tried to do the early vote but we missed it," she said, adding she and her husband got to the poll as early as they could, in order to get to the hospital by 9 a.m. for a scheduled caesarean section.

"We just thought well, we'd just try. And all these nice people let us cut in front of them."

Voter Betty Perrehinec was in line just before 8 a.m. "We need a change, that's for sure. I'm really focused on the vote today."

"I was worried about the lineups because I heard the advance polls were pretty heavy. So yeah, I'm the first one here. I'll be the first one to vote today — that makes my day."

Over at the polling station in Holy Rosary Church on River Avenue, people were lined up outside of the door.

Robert Basinger, who was in line for more than 30 minutes, said it reminded him of going through airport security.

"You show your ID at one spot, or the boarding pass at one spot, then you go through another check, you go up 10 feet, and show it again," he said. "We have so much duplication, there is no computerization in it. It's all paper — when they are looking up the name and drawing a line through it. In the age we are voting in now, I can't see why there can't be a computerized system." 

Nearly double the number of voters cast ballots in advance polls this year as compared to the 2011 federal election. A total of 108,454 voters in Manitoba took part. By contrast, 56,723 electors in the province cast ballots in advance polls in 2011.

Winnipeg South Centre is a riding that is expected to be among the most hotly contested in the country and Taronno said it was important for her to vote. But she wasn't allowed four ballots, her husband jokingly added.

The riding had the highest number of Manitoba voters in the advance polls with of 11,205. In 2011, that riding had 5,932 advance votes.

The second-highest number was in Saint Boniface-Saint Vital, where 9,610 votes were cast. It's a new riding that includes the former Saint Boniface riding, which had 5,775 electors voting in advance polls in 2011.

You have until 8:30 p.m. tonight to vote.


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