Voters in Regina who expected to beat the lines by voting on the first day of advance polls had to deal with long waits at some polling stations.
On Tuesday afternoon there was a steady stream of voters heading into the Core Ritchie Centre but the line of voters leaving the building had slowed down to a trickle by 4 p.m. Those who did come out reported a long line and a longer wait.
“The wait, well we got here I would say a good three quarters of an hour from the time we walked in to the time we walked out,” said Glen. “I don’t think it’s generally this busy, but maybe the first day.”
He wasn’t the only person surprised by the long line on the first day of advance polls.
“I thought it would be easier than coming on election day, but I’m not sure it was,” admitted Anne, who said the wait was between 45 minutes and an hour.
A few people walked out after seeing the long lines, noting that they were too busy to wait at this point but would come back another day.
“We actually left because it looked like the line-up was so long we were going to have to wait for half an hour,” explained Doug.
News Talk Radio heard reports of longer lines at several voting stations in the city. Some people questioned whether the polling stations had enough people working, or if it was a lack of training that slowed them down.
At the Cathedral Community Centre on 13th Avenue, the line was quite short even as people finished work around 5 p.m.
“It’s very, very slow, that’s the longest we’ve ever waited and I’m not sure why, there’s not very many people in line, I don’t know if it’s the training,” said Heather.
Some voters reported waits of up to 10 or 15 minutes.
Elections Saskatchewan reported that 24,602 people voted in advance polls across the province on the first day. They sent out 24 elections workers to polls that were reporting delays due to long-lineups. They will be monitoring the situation and keeping a team of people on call to respond to busy areas. Elections Saskatchewan also advises people to try going to advance polls later in the evening, because there is often longer lines when the polls first open between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
When asked what issues are the most important to them, early voters at advance polls listed many different motivations for voting.
“Probably the economy,” commented Anne. “We don’t need any more higher taxes.”
“There’s a lot of things, but we’ll see what happens after the election,” said Doreen. “Brad Wall – I have confidence in him, but he’s got to smarten up.”
Doug said he felt it was particularly important to vote in this election because his constituency is in a closer race than others. He added that environmental issues and greenhouse gases are an important issue to him in this election.
“I am not happy with some of the unanswered questions of our current government,” Virginia commented. “They don’t seem to have definitive answers on the questions they’re being challenged on.”
She added that if you don’t vote you have no right to complain for four years.
Zoe said it is difficult to pick just one particular issue, but she said tuition and post secondary education is very important to her.
“I would say maybe the film industry,” commented Stephanie. “I know with the last election it was very disheartening. Being someone that has graduated from film school – having that tax credit cut really really hurt – I mean it collapsed the industry.”
Advance polls are open for the rest of the week between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.
Information cards sent in the mail will tell voters where their advance polling location is. Voters who didn’t receive one can contact Elections Saskatchewan or visit their website to find their polling station.