Greg Rockwell won’t be keeping up the family tradition and voting this election. (Photo contributed) Greg Rockwell won’t be keeping up the family tradition and voting this election. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap voter unhappy with polling times that don’t allow him to vote

Resident thinks with technology available polls should be open more days

Greg Rockwell won’t be voting this year and he’s not happy about it.

Rockwell was out of town during the advance polls but he thought he would be able to vote when he got back.

He knew he wouldn’t be able to vote on election day, Oct. 21, as he is returning to work running equipment in a glacier in northern B.C. There’s no chance he’ll be able to reach a polling station when he’s there.

He believed he would be able to go to the Elections Canada office in Salmon Arm during the window between advance and regular voting, but when he arrived there Wednesday, Oct. 16, he was told the only option left was Oct. 21.

Rockwell says his dad would be horrified because his is a voting family.

“The way he put it is, you don’t get an opinion for four years if you don’t vote.”

A call to the toll-free Elections Canada line confirmed there were and are no options for voting between Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Oct. 21 at 7 a.m.

Read more: Should voting be mandatory in federal elections?

Read more: Four advance voting days coming up to support your North Okanagan-Shuswap candidate

Read more: Incorrectly listed polling station address sends Oak Bay voters to liquor store

Spokesperson Andrea Marantz says she feels badly that Rockwell won’t be voting.

She points out there were more options to vote this election than ever before. The hours for the four days of advance polling were extended from eight to 12 hours. Polling stations were provided on university campuses. People travelling could vote away from home.

A mail ballot was provided but the voter had to apply for it before Oct. 15. Then Elections Canada would mail back a special voting kit, which the voter would mail back.

She says the rules were well-promoted and are visible on the Elections Canada website.

Marantz said it’s unfortunate that some people won’t be voting.

“It’s one of those thing you have to pay attention to… It’s the only way it can work; we have to say, this is it. We have to finalize things.”

She said if names are continuously being crossed off the voting list, then there’s not enough time for it to be finalized and prepared for the poll workers so they can do their jobs.

Asked why, with all the high-speed technology, five days are needed, she responded:

“Not many undertakings have this many millions of people. It’s the sheer volume. And they all have to be broken down into individual polls at individual polling places.”

Rockwell doesn’t buy the explanation, saying the technology exists and the explanation sounds like an excuse.

Marantz, again, emphasizes she feel badly that Rockwell won’t be able to vote.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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