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Advanced voter turnout for general election low

Need a ride to the polls tomorrow? Bus service is free on election day
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Poll boxes are set up at the Terrace Sportsplex on the first day of advanced voting. Roughly 700 people took their opportunity to vote before general election day on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Voters in Terrace and Thornhill may be waiting until the last day to cast their ballots this general election.

Roughly 700 people took the opportunity to vote early on Oct. 10 and Oct. 17 before general voting day Oct. 20.

According to the chief election officer Cathy Jackson, advanced polling for the current municipal, school board and the regional district elections are showing lower turnouts than last election cycle, though she did not have the total number of advanced votes cast in 2014 to compare.

Around 238 people have voted to fill the six seats on city council so far, according to Jackson. The school board had received 252 advanced votes to fill two open Terrace trustee positions, with 29 votes counted for Thornhill candidates. As of Wednesday afternoon’s advanced count, 175 people had voted for regional district directors in Areas A, C and E.

Terrace city clerk Alisa Thompson agreed the count was low when looking at other years. In 2014, 446 people voted in the advanced polls for city council; in 2011, 414 people participated. This year, the count is down by nearly half.

Thompson speculated the low turnout could be because there’s no mayoral race this year and no large divisive issue to separate the candidates. She urged residents to exercise their right to vote, saying each ballot carries a lot of weight, especially in an eligible voting pool of about 8,000 people.

READ MORE: More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

“It always has a huge impact on daily life, it’s so important to cast that ballot,” Thompson said. “It won’t take long, it should be a painless, quick process - get in and get out.”

These last two election cycles have shown some difficulty getting voters in Terrace to the polls. Voter turnout was 30 per cent in 2014, with 2,444 of 8,136 eligible voters participating. That was slightly up from 28 per cent in 2011.

“If you care about your community and what happens, you should look into who the candidates are and what their beliefs are, and if they’ll run our local government in a way that you feel is important,” Jackson said.

READ MORE: Fix the downtown: council candidates hear from voters

Need to vote? Polls are open in Terrace and Thornhill at the following locations until 8 p.m. :

Terrace Sportsplex banquet room (3320 Kalum Street)

Thornhill Community Centre (3091 Century Street)

Free ride to the polls

To make it easier for voters, bus service is free tomorrow thanks to the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, the City of Terrace and BC Transit.

The free fare will apply on all local Terrace routes and the HandyDART.

All Skeena Regional Transit System routes (11 Terrace-Kitimat Connector, 12 Kitamaat Village, 13 Kitsumkalum and 14 Gitaus/Queensway) will also be free on Oct. 20.

All votes will be counted by hand after polls close at 8 p.m. tomorrow. The Terrace Standard will be at the polling station to report on the results as they come in. For full coverage visit www.terracestandard.com/municipal-election or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

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