Advance polls in Penticton become more accessible

It’s going to be easier than ever to vote in Penticton this November.

It’s going to be easier than ever to vote in Penticton this November.

Rather than hold both advance polls at city hall, Penticton city council voted last night to move one of those polls to a far more accessible location, Cherry Lane Shopping Centre and make public transit free on election day, Nov. 15.

Jennifer Taylor, one of the co-founders of Time For Change Penticton, said they are thrilled to see the advance poll scheduled for the mall.

“I think that is a very positive move because it well make it far more accessible,” she said. “That was a win for us last night.”

Voting at an advance poll used to be restricted to a few special cases, but since the province relaxed voting regulations, more and more people are choosing to take advantage of advanced polls, according to Dana Schmidt, Penticton’s corporate officer.

She suggested two possible locations to move one of the two required advance polls to: the Senior’s Drop-in Centre, at a cost of $500, or to a free space in Cherry Lane.

Both locations, she told council, provided a convenient location for voters, along with ample parking.

The seniors’ centre is already familiar as a voting centre, while Cherry Lane was a better option for public transit.

“We’re trying to get as many younger people as we can out to vote and it is obvious you are going to have more of those younger people at the mall and older people,” said Coun. Helena Konanz.

“I think when you make it more of a normal thing, that you don’t have to go to an out of the way place to vote, that more people will end up voting.”

Konanz also moved that the city provide free transit on election day.

“What I am looking for is that anyone who steps onto a bus and says I am going to vote get free transit that day,” said Konanz. “It is good marketing for transit, and it is good marketing for voting that day.”

Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, said costs of making transit free for a day would be minimal. An average November Saturday, according to Moroziuk, brings in about $1,400 in the fare boxes.

“The most you would lose would be $1,400 if everyone on that bus is going to vote,” he said.