There was no line up at the polling station at Mission Central Elementary earlier today. / Kevin Mills Photo

There was no line up at the polling station at Mission Central Elementary earlier today. / Kevin Mills Photo

Mission polling stations are quiet on election day

Advance polls and mail-in ballots seem to have reduced long line ups

Most of Mission’s pollng stations have seen little to no waits as residents headed to the polls today.

The station located at Mission Central Elementary was, at times, like a ghost town, with more staff than voters.

While there had been some busier periods, staff there described the day as quiet.

Full Covid-19 safety protocols were in place as masks and hand sanitizers were made available and each polling station was spread far away from each other.

It was a similar story at polling stations all across B.C. But it doesn’t mean the province is seeing a low voter turnout. It’s a reflection of holding the election during a pandemic.

Andrew Watson, communications director for Elections BC, told Black Press Media that “safe voting has been the focus” during this snap election. In addition to the mail-in voting, polling stations are following all of the safety protocol people have become familiar with.

“Voters can feel confident in the process we’ve put in place,” he said, noting that staff have all been given personal protective equipment to wear, hand sanitizing stations are set up for voters and everyone is encouraged to wear a mask while casting their ballot – though it’s not mandatory.

He added that while turnout was steady through the morning, the “record turnout” for advanced voting and vote-by-mail meant that fewer people were voting on Election Day. No long lines or other issues were reported at polling stations through the morning.

“Please get out and vote,” Watson said, noting that anyone who requires assistance with finding their polling station or any other step in the voting process can contact Elections BC directly at 1-800-661-8683.

Due to the pandemic, more British Columbians have decided to vote by mail-in ballot than ever before. Election results won’t be finalized until after Nov. 6, after those mail-in ballots are counted.

Across B.C., a total of 478,900 mail-in ballots were returned to Election BC, as of Friday, Oct. 22.

There are roughly 3.5 million registered voters in the province.