CEDARVALE voter Mary Dalen with Elections Canada cards telling her family to vote in Hazelton

Northwestern B.C. voters get new voter information cards

Residents of Cedarvale first told to vote 50 kilometres away in Hazelton

  • Tue Oct 6th, 2015 5:00pm
  • News

RESIDENTS of the tiny community of Cedarvale east of here along Hwy16 are getting new voter information cards with accurate information on where they can vote in this federal election.

Cards originally telling them they could either cast advance ballots or ones on election day Oct. 19 in Hazelton drew protests because of the 50 kilometre distance between the two communities.

But now they’ve been told they can vote 19 kilometres away in Kitwanga which is where they cast ballots in the 2011 federal election.

“All affected Cedarvale registered voters will receive a replacement [voter information] card,” said Elections Canada official Dorothy Sitek last week.

She said the new cards will have a notice in red in the bottom right hand corner telling the recipient that it is a replacement card.

Sitek said it’s important that all voters pay attention to the polling station addresses on the back of their voting information cards as they can only vote at a polling station associated with their address.

That’s different from, for example, provincial voting rules in which voters can cast ballots at any official voting place.

Elections Canada won’t even release a list of the locations of its 2015 voting stations so as not to confuse people about where they can or cannot vote, Sitek said.

Some Cedarvale residents remain unhappy, said Mary Dalen who has lived in the community for decades.

“Of course the people here who vote all the time are furious. Elections Canada is making it harder and harder for people to go and vote,” said Dalen in displaying the original card she received in the mail.

Even going to Kitwanga is a problem, said Dalen, because Cedarvale votes will then be mixed in with Kitwanga and area ballots.

“We want to be identified as being from Cedarvale,” she said.

Dalen said she remembers days gone past when people in Cedarvale got dressed up to go vote in their own community.

Similar mix-ups in voting station locations appear to be happening in some other locations across the country with Elections Canada officials elsewhere saying they are contacting those affected.