Sudbury

Workers at the polls brace for a big day in northeastern Ontario

After weeks of talking, it is now time to vote. For this 43rd federal election, polls are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Those working at the polling stations are ready to process the votes and are hoping for a good turnout.

Voting day a busy one for seasoned workers at the polls

Polls in northeastern Ontario are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

After weeks of talking, it is now time to vote. 

For this 43rd federal election, polls are open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Those working at the polling stations are ready to process the votes and are hoping for a good turnout.

Election night 2015, voter turnout soared up into the mid 60 per cent for the first time in years.

That was also the story in northeastern Ontario, with a 66 per cent turnout for the region, and up to 68 per cent for some ridings, including Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie.

That was way up from earlier elections, including 2008 when in ridings such as Timmins-James Bay barely half the eligible voters marked a ballot.

Pauline Renaud has worked elections in the Sudbury area for the last 20 years.

She is now the returning officer for the riding of Nickel Belt. Renaud has helped people in many different locations over the years. In some smaller communities, they've had to be creative when there isn't a community centre to set up in.

"We were in a lady's garage, she had it heated. If we opened the garage door we could access it. And that was one of my voting stations."

She says they also do home visits for people who are homebound. They go out in teams of two with a special ballot so people can cast their vote. Renaud says one particular home visit has stayed with her.

"This gentleman was bedridden. He was a veteran. And he had tears in his eyes and he said 'I fought for this country and thank you ladies for coming out because this will be my last time that I can vote. Thanks for making that happen,'" says Renaud. "Every year I remember that one and I think yep we're doing a good thing."

Working in all conditions

Jim Mallory has worked elections in the North Bay area for the past 20 years and is currently the chief returning officer for the riding of Nipissing-Timiskaming. 

He says for workers, it is a special day.

"It's almost like a little family environment and it becomes just like that."

He says you never know what will happen that day. He recalls one memorable year.

"We had a power failure throughout about I would say 40 per cent of the riding at 8 in the morning. We weren't able to have power in some of these polling sights until at least noon and Elections Canada didn't want us to stop. We had to get generators and rent them where we could."

Mallory says in the end, all went well. Workers have learned how to deal with all kinds of surprises. 

As for what happens today is yet to be seen as many people have already voted in the advanced polls.

That turnout is up 29 per cent nationally, but the local numbers are not yet available.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now