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Some voters walk away from polls because of long lines

Last Updated Oct 20, 2018 at 7:48 pm PST

A line-up forms at a Vancouver polling station Saturday, Oct. 20. (Source: Tim Bray, Twitter)

Some voters are apparently walking away from voting stations because the line-ups are too long

Wait times appear to be because of the automatic vote counting machines

VANCOUVER – Long lines had some voters simply walking away from the polls today.

That’s what we heard from some polling stations in Vancouver and Burnaby.

There was a problem with the machine at the polling station at 12th Avenue and Hemlock Street. That prompted several voters to leave in search of another location before the polls closed.

People at that station were told they will be allowed to cast a ballot, as long as they are in the queue by the 8 p.m. deadline.


The line-ups to vote at several stations were short, but there were backlogs of people trying to process their ballots. Each station has only one or two vote-counting machines.

That was happening in Burnaby as well.

Some people waited up to 30 minutes to put their ballot in the voting machine. Others were seen leaving the station after they were told about how long it would take to vote.

Others have posted on Twitter that they weren’t seeing any line-ups.

The City of Burnaby added a second vote counting machine at the polling station at Gilmore Community Elementary after getting reports the lines were long, and some were walking away.

The City of Vancouver’s Chief Election Officer Rosemary Hagiware, says she wasn’t surprised to hear polls were busy between 1 and 3 p.m: that was the busiest time during the elections in 2014. She says elections staff will also give people a heads up about wait times on site.

“Elections staff will give them an approximate length of wait, and give them the option of going to other locations,” she said. “Most of them will stay in line and wait. We’ve had a few that went to other locations that were less busy.”

As to why it could be taking longer, to vote, it might be because of the number of candidates on the ballot.

“The machines that are being used by the City of Vancouver are currently working normally. Because of the ballot length – it’s 22 inches, which is five inches longer than your typical ballot, due to the 158 candidates – it’s taking approximately 22 seconds to cast a ballot,” says Hagiware. “If the ballot is rejected or needs to be re-cast, that increases the time to cast a ballot.”

She’s suggesting people check their website to find out which polling stations have the shortest and longest lines before heading to the polls.

They’re also posting regular updates about the polling stations on Twitter.