Returning officer Sharon Morrison goes over details for the May 2 federal election.

Returning officer Sharon Morrison goes over details for the May 2 federal election.

Getting ready to vote

It’s been a hectic few days, but organizing for the looming federal election is coming together.

It was a week ago that the minority Conservative government fell and Elections Canada began scrambling to ensure everything is ready for the May 2 vote.

“We were told April 26 that we should go on alert and check and see if an office is available,” said Sharon Morrison, Okanagan-Shuswap returning officer.

“The people that were vacating the Vernon office were packing things out as we were packing things in. We didn’t really get in until last Monday.”

A satellite office has also been set up in Salmon Arm.

Computers came on line Thursday, while phones still hadn’t been hooked up as of Friday.

“We didn’t have desks until Thursday so we were working off tables,” said Morrison.

Added to all of this was the fact that people could come in and register and even vote if they know the name of their candidate.

“We’ve had voters already. They were voting at my picnic table because that’s what we had,” said Morrison.

But while there has been a lot of last-minute activity, some advance preparations occur.

Twice a year, Morrison calls staff and the printers and office supply companies to make sure they are available if an election is called.

Locations have been established for the advance polls as well as the 200 polling stations required May 2.

An army of polling clerks is also being drafted.

“I have a list from the last election and that’s a starting point for people we can hire as poll staff if we don’t get phone calls,” said Delver.

People interested in applying for election work can also go to www.elections.ca.

For residents wanting to register to vote or to cast a ballot, the Vernon and Salmon Arm offices are open Monday to Friday from 9 am. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“If you have moved since the last election, you can come in and we will revise the list,” said Morrison.

Registration can also occur on election day but individuals must know the location of your designated polling station.

A major task for staff right now is to prepare the labels that will notify residents of where they vote. There are about 90,500 registered voters in the riding.

“Every label has to be pulled off and put on the right voter identification card,” said Bob Jones, an office worker.

The last day for candidates to submit nomination papers is April 11.

“They must be here by 2 p.m. that day and that’s strictly enforced. If you come in at 2:15 p.m., it’s too late,” said Morrison.

“I have no idea of how many candidates there will be.”

The Vernon Elections Canada office is located at 202-2928 29th St. while the office in Salmon Arm is at 330 Alexander Street.

For more information, call the toll-free number at 1-866-545-0621.