Victoria plans to double the number of voting machines and increase the number of polling stations for the next municipal election to try to avoid a repeat of long lineups and waits at the polls last fall.
Councillors have agreed to recommendations in a report from city clerk and chief election officer Chris Coates on lessons learned from the 2018 vote.
“The main issue of concern from the public was the length of time spent in the line at voting locations,” Coates said in his report, noting waits of 45 minutes to an hour were not uncommon.
Coates said the estimated cost of renting additional voting machines for each polling station is $25,000, which he said is small in relation to the $320,000 election budget.
The cost of setting up additional polling stations has yet to be determined.
Victoria saw a 43.5 per cent voter turnout in October, the largest recorded turnout in a city election, up from 39 per cent in the previous election.
That translated to 29,707 ballots cast — 5,042 more than in 2014 and an increase of more than 12,000 from the 2011 election.
The city set up 12 voting places on general election day. In addition, there were six advance voting opportunities, mail-in ballots and special voting stations at care homes with 50 or more residents.
A total of 4,791 advance votes were cast, up from 3,144 in the previous election, along with 197 mail-in ballots and 403 ballots cast at care homes.
Meanwhile, Coates ballparked the cost of a council byelection, should it become necessary, at about $200,000.
Coun. Laurel Collins has announced her intention to seek the NDP nomination for the fall federal election in the hope of succeeding Victoria MP Murray Rankin, who has announced his retirement.
Source:: Vancouver Sun