Drive up voting is popular with Victoria-Swan Lake voters at the Craigflower elementary polling station. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Drive up voting is popular with Victoria-Swan Lake voters at the Craigflower elementary polling station. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Drive up voting popular at Craigflower polling station in Victoria-Swan Lake

Nearly 13,000 mail-in ballots were requested in the Victoria-Swan Lake riding

Today is the last day to vote in the B.C. election. Polls are open across Greater Victoria from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

In Victoria-Swan Lake, Rob Fleming (NDP), Annemieke Holthuis (Green), David Somerville (Liberal), Walt Parsons (Communist), and Jenn Smith (Independent) are on the ballot. Learn more about these candidates here.

The availability of drive-up voting has been popular with several voters so far at Craigflower elementary. For those people unable to climb the stairs, polling station staff bring their equipment down to the parking lot to tally the person’s vote.

At least one couple at the Craigflower polling station brought their issues with them come election day.

“A big issue we’re having right now in Victoria is the tent cities, the amount of them and how many overnight campers we have in parks,” said William Osolit. His partner Elana Ransome said she worries about the lack of affordable rental accommodation in the region. “I just looked at what’s happening right now with rentals, the prices.”

Both were surprised by the snap election.

William wondered whether it was an attempt by the NDP to gain a majority and capitalize on the “strange time we’re in.”

Early voting for the 2020 provincial election has broken records, according to data released by Elections BC on Thursday (Oct. 22).

The agency said 681,055 people cast their ballot during seven days of advanced voting that ended Wednesday, compared to 614,389 in 2017. In 2013, there were 366,558 people who voted in advance and 290,220 in 2009, with fewer yet in earlier elections.

In Victoria-Swan Lake 8,380 voters took advantage of the advanced polls this election.

READ MORE: Polling stations see steady stream of voters for B.C. Election Day, no long lines

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6, when those mail-in ballots are counted. An estimated 12,978 mail-in ballots were requested by Elections BC within the Victoria-Swan Lake riding. There are 40,590 registered voters in the riding.

The Braefoot polling station supervisor said things were surprisingly quiet there Saturday. However, staff there did see a large number of post-secondary students voting for a riding outside of the region.

Like others, she attributed the quietness to the greater advanced voting and mail-in voting opportunities.

Across B.C., a total 724,279 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 23.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.

Over in Oaklands, one young family, with a couple of big dogs, took a brisk but sunny walk to vote at the elementary school. Voter Bob Gronotte shared concerns about the economy and the housing crisis.

“I’m worried about where we’re going to be coming out of COVID and hoping we have the right leadership in place to grow the economy again,” he said.

Meagan Gronotte’s concerns include future negotiations for teachers as well as the environment.

They too were suprised by the snap vote.

“It was probably poor timing. If we’re really worried about social distancing and keeping the (COVID) numbers low… the optics were pretty bad,” Bob said.

Voter information cards sent by mail will provide the location of assigned polling stations in your community. If you did not receive a card, you can still vote, find your assigned polling station online at elections.bc.ca by using your postal code.

READ MORE: B.C. votes 2020

Black Press Media will be with you election day, bringing you live coverage of our local candidates as the poll results come in. Find coverage of the other Greater Victoria ridings by clicking the link below.

Seven ridings encompass Greater Victoria with a grand total of 27 candidates vying for your vote.

In Saanich North and the Islands, Zeb King, Adam Olsen, and Stephen Roberts are vying for your vote. Learn more about these candidates here.

In Saanich South, Kate O’Connor, Lana Popham and Rishi Sharma are on the ballot. Find the latest on Saanich South here.

In the Oak Bay-Gordon Head riding, Florian Castle, Nicole Duncan, Roxanne Helme, and Murray Rankin are vying for your vote. Find the latest on Oak Bay-Gordon Head here.

In the Esquimalt-Metchosin riding – which also includes Colwood – Mitzi Dean, Andy MacKinnon, Desta McPherson, and RJ Senko are facing off. Find the latest on Esquimalt-Metchosin here.

Karen Bill, Grace Lore, Jenn Neilson, and Jordan Reichert are running in Victoria-Beacon Hill. Find the latest on Victoria-Beacon Hill here.

In the West Shore’s other riding, Langford-Juan de Fuca, Gord Baird, Kelly Darwin, John Horgan, and Tyson Riel Strandlund are vying for your vote. Find the latest on Langford-Juan de Fuca here.

For more election coverage, go to vicnews.com/tag/bc-votes-2020.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Elections BC estimates that roughly 35 per cent of voters used mail-in ballots, which will be counted beginning on Nov. 6. This means that tonight’s election results may change.

ALSO READ: Here’s what you need to know to vote


 

Do you have a story tip? Email: c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca.

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