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Poll location changes cause voter frustration


Casting a ballot in Tuesday's (May 17) provincial election wasn't easy for some confused voters who went to the traditional voting place and found they were in the wrong spot.

In the past, provincial election voting was done at the Brennan Park Recreation Centre. This time the advance polling was done at Brennan Park but on the main voting day ballots were cast at schools in four neighbourhoods. Mohammad Afsar, a deputy district electoral officer for the riding of West Vancouver-Garibaldi, said the move to the neighbourhoods was made in response to complaints that Brennan Park is difficult to reach using the local transit system.

Afsar reported after the election that by 10 a.m. he decided to station an election official at the recreation centre to help confused voters.

Three different election workers took shifts and Afsar said the three workers reported that more than 75 voters went to Brennan Park cast their vote.

Suzanne Pask, the NDP's local campaign manager, also realized many people were mistakenly going to Brennan Park so she also went to the recreation centre to help direct voters to the right place.

Afsar said Elections BC took steps to inform people of the change in voting place by advertising it in the newspaper and printing the voting place location on every voter registration card. Despite the efforts of Elections BC, not everyone got the message.

According to Afsar, many of the people who went to Brennan Park had their voter registration cards with them.

"They just didn't bother to read the voting card because the voting card indicates where their voting place was," Afsar said.

Those who wanted to vote at Valleycliffe first thing in the morning found their polling place still preparing to open at 8 a.m. Afsar said a miscommunication caused the ballots destined for Valleycliffe to arrive late. The doors opened at 8:10 a.m. to Afsar extended voting at Valleycliffe to 8:10 p.m.

To run the election machine between Lions Bay and the northern end of the riding, Afsar said 230 people were employed to do everything from hand out ballots, count ballots, greet voters, answer questions and process data.

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