Election creates its own employment boom in Kootenay West

The upcoming provincial election has brought 500 jobs to the West Kootenay District, albeit temporarily.

If you listen to the campaign platforms then you have probably heard that a solution to improve the economy is jobs, jobs and jobs.

So, it is ironic that the provincial election itself has brought jobs, albeit temporary, to over 37,000 British Columbians, including 500 in the Kootenay West District.

Since April 1, the District Electoral Office has been hiring locally, and offering a pay rate that is nothing to scoff at. Compensation for the day is $250.

No experience is required but the worker, called an election official, must be at least 15 years of age, literate in basic English and legally entitled to work in B.C.

In order to work at the voting stations, a training session (approximately two hours) must be completed, which will net a pay of $35.

The work day is long, and election officials must be prepared to sit or stand for extended periods.

“Election workers are asked to arrive at  7:15 a.m. to set up their stations,” said Don Vinish, district electoral officer.

“And there they must stay for the duration, until after 8 p.m. and until they balance.”

From Trail to Trout Lake, there are 26 polling sites, officially called voting places, to be manned by the election officials on Tuesday, said Vinish.

Each table will have two ballot boxes, and be attended by two people at all times, he explained.

Currently there are three places to advance vote, and in Trail, a fair amount of residents have already been in the electoral office on McQuarrie Street in East Trail, to place their votes, Vinish said.

Results of those votes will be counted and added to votes on election day and released as an initial count later that night.

Vinish said that a final count will take place in the East Trail office from May 27 to 29.

“Those days we count all those absentee ballots and add them to the initial count,” explained Vinish.

“If the race is close, the absentee ballots could conceivably change the outcome.”

This election, a full enumeration was not done, due to expense.

“In the past, a full enumeration was done, which is door-to-door in the whole province,” he said.

“That was just way too expensive, so this time, everyone had an opportunity to register on-line or at one of our registration desks.

“Instead of going to the people, we had them come to us.”