'Exceeded expectations:' City of Calgary tweaking drive up voting after success
All in all Calgarians are flooding the advance voting stations suggesting there's interest in the civic election
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The City of Calgary is scrambling to keep up with advance voter demand, especially at their pilot “drive up” polling station where some waited more than 35 minutes to vote.
The line was still wrapped around McMahon Stadium by the time Randy Coptin arrived at 2 p.m., prompting him to park instead and walk up the station to vote.
“The walk-through was fantastic – five minutes or less,” he said. “People sitting in their cars for a half hour? That’s just creating pollution and it’s crazy to think that people are willing to wait in their cars like that. I don’t think the drive-through will work, but more of these stand-alone locations would be great.”
Calgary elections and census manager Paul Denys said the interest exceeded their expectations, and they’re now “looking to make some improvements to improve the flow of the voting station."
Denys said there will be a shuttle trailer equipped with more election officers issuing ballots simultaneously. He said, once in place, they should be able to increase the flow by 35 to 40 per cent.
Despite the wait, some voters said the convenience and accessibility factor was well worth it. Tammy Faas drove in with her mother, who requires an oxygen tank.
“She was nervous about walking with the oxygen, so this is a great alternative,” said Faas.
“Without this, I would have had to take her to another advance polling station, but it would have been really difficult because, for most of them, you need to walk quite a distance.”
But it's not just the drive up novelty seeing success. Denys said there are voting stations that are seeing lineups, and although they haven't run out of ballots at any stations (they are keeping a close eye), extras have been sent to a number of locations throughout the day.
"Based on the turnout so far it's definitely higher than previous elections," said Denys. "A lot more people are wanting to get out and take care of voting early."
The candidate profiles on electionscalgary.ca are also getting a lot of traffic, which Denys suggests means citizens are taking the time to research candidates and platforms.
"There are signs we could have a strong showing for this election," said Denys.
The drive-up voting station runs until Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the east parking lot of McMahon Stadium.