Election 2015: New voter cards on the way for some Trail residents

Elections Canada reminds citizens to read their voter information card

In a new federal riding like South Okanagan-West Kootenay, there’s bound to be a glitch or two.

Electors in the Trail area are urged to carefully read their voter information cards, which were mailed out last week. The reason being, like similar reports from across the country, certain Oct. 19 polling day locations in Trail are questionable.

For example, some East Trail residents are directed to go to the Trail Memorial Centre for advance polling this weekend. Whereas those same voters were advised on their card, to cast a ballot in the Warfield Community Hall on election day.

Notably, unless Elections Canada makes the associated corrections, the Trail voter would indeed have to drive up to the village to vote that day.

The local riding office has been inundated with calls about such errors, and Roberta Post from the main returning office location in Penticton, confirmed new voter information cards are on the way for affected Trail residents.

“I can tell you that the polling district group of people (East Trail, polling number 230) have been moved to the Trail Memorial Centre as their polling place on voting day,” Post told the Trail Times on Monday. “Everyone will get a new voter information card in the mail, directing them there.”

It’s all part of the normal period of adjustment during the election process, says Dorothy Sitek from Elections Canada.

“It’s normal for returning officers to have change or change location of the polling place,” Sitek explained. “It’s part of the process, as was the case in 2011. It’s expected approximately 1.5 per cent of electors will be affected by change in their polling location, and that’s the number that happened in 2011.”

As a result of the current snafu, which some attribute to the re-drawn federal ridings, almost 200,000 voters across Canada have received or will receive a replacement card.

“That’s why we really encourage people to look at their voter information cards,” Sitek said. “To make sure they know where they need to go. And if there is a question or concern, check with the returning officer,  to make sure they have the right location to vote.”

She said though quite rare, if something does need to change, it’s done at the local riding level.

“There’s still plenty of time before the Oct. 13 deadline, to get a hard copy mailed to you. In the right bottom corner, replacement card is printed in red, to make sure you are using the right vote information card.”

Advance polling will be held Thanksgiving weekend (Oct. 9, 10, 11 and 12) from noon until 8 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre, Rossland Summit School, Warfield Community Hall and the Fruitvale Memorial Centre.

Besides four days of advance polling, Sitek reminds voters about other options such as voting by mail with packages available online or by calling 1.800.463.6868. Or people can visit any Elections Canada office and vote by special(blank) ballot until 6 p.m. Oct. 13.

“There will likely be a list of candidates printed out for you to consult, to make sure you are aware of all candidates in your riding,” explained Sitek. “And if you go to a completely different Elections Canada office (from your riding), you will still be voting in your own home riding.”

The Trail office is located in Waneta Plaza, open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Proof of identity and address is required.

About 86 per cent of Canadians vote using their drivers licence, Sitek noted.

If a government issued driver’s ID or provincial ID card is not applicable, then two pieces of identification are required.

For a complete listing of identity options, visit Elections.ca.