The City of Penticton is trying to make it as easy as possible for residents to cast their votes in this year’s municipal election.
Responding to a trend of more and more voters taking advantage of advance polls since the rules for voting at them have been relaxed, city council chose to move one of the two advance polls out into the community.
The first poll, on Nov. 5, is at the customary place, Penticton City Hall, 171 Main St. But the second poll will take place in Cherry Lane Shopping Centre on Nov. 6. Both days, the polls will be in operation between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Lynn Kelsey, one of the candidates for council, said she has been hearing from a lot of people with accessibility issues how happy they are with a poll taking place in a central location.
“I think there is going to be a huge uptake,” she said. “Even if they have a free bus on election day, the transportation issues are huge for them. They are really quite excited that they will be able to vote in the advance poll at Cherry Lane.”
Candidates Max Picton and John Vassilaki said they have been questioned about mail-in ballots, though from different groups in the community. Vassilaki said he has been hearing from snowbirds wondering if the ballots will be available before they leave. Picton, on the other hand, said he has been hearing from younger voters, working up north, that haven’t registered yet.
In both cases, according to Dana Schmidt, the city’s chief returning officer, the best move is for the voter to contact city hall.
“I would have them call into the office and we will take details. We are asking people what day they are available until and how we can reach them, where we can mail things to and we are mailing out of country if we need to,” she said. Those that haven’t registered and are already out of town, she continued, can ask to be sent a registration form.
If you are not already on the list of electors, a person may register at time of voting by completing the application form, including your date of birth or the last six digits of your social insurance number, and provide two pieces of identification (at least one with a signature) to prove both residency and identity. Picture identification is not necessary.
Electors will also be required to make a declaration that they are 18 years of age or older; a Canadian citizen; a resident of B.C. for at least six months immediately preceding the day of registration; a resident of the City of Penticton for at least 30 days immediately preceding the day of registration and are not otherwise disqualified by law from voting.