Voters in Saanich have come out in a steady stream today, but especially at the District’s four community recreation centres. Don Descoteau/Black Press

CIVIC ELECTION: Large voter turnout seen in Saanich, Oak Bay

Rec centres as polling places boosts numbers in Saanich, advance voting soars in Oak Bay

Opening up the municipality’s recreation centres as polling stations for the first time has made for a good response so far in the District of Saanich.

The District’s chief elections officer, Angila Bains, said having Saanich Commonwealth Place plus the Pearkes, Gordon Head and Cedar Hill recreation centres available to the 85,004 eligible Saanich voters for today’s municipal and school board elections and the Saanich/Victoria amalgamation referendum question has made a difference.

“Things are going extremely well, with good voter turnout,” she said late Saturday afternoon. While there have been lineups at some sites, most notably Pearkes Recreation Centre, staff and volunteers at the polling stations report that the majority of people have been patient with the waits.

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“I’ve been out to some of the voter locations and people have been happy; it’s a nice sunny day to get out and do your civic duty,” Bains said.

Over in Oak Bay, a municipality with less than one-sixth the number of eligible voters, a large increase in the advance polling is expected to contribute to a larger overall vote count, according to chief election officer Debra Hopkins.

She reported that 2,104 residents cast their ballot ahead of general voting day, significantly higher than the 1,270 voters who did so in 2014.

Meanwhile, traffic at the District’s three polling stations has been steady all day, she added, with no glitches or major waits.

“It’s been busy all day; lines were probably around 25 to 40 minutes around late morning and early afternoon,” she told the Oak Bay News. “But everybody held their own and we tried to get people through as efficiently as possible.”

She added that more than 1,800 people had cast their ballots as of 7 p.m.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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