Voters in Vernon didn’t have to wait too long in the cold to cast their provincial election ballots.
A steady flow of voters filtered into the Vernon Recreation Centre polling station Saturday afternoon. But with more than a million British Columbians having already voted ahead of Oct. 24 through advanced voting or mail-in ballots, most said it was a quick and easy experience — despite the addition of COVID-19 safety precautions.
“It was as efficient as ever,” Jennifer Brown said outside the rec centre at 3310 37th Avenue. “It was pretty empty in there, so lots of room for social distancing.”
“They all seem to be organized,” added Patsy Bartholomew. “It was a piece of cake!”
Dozens of voters came through the rec centre in a half-hour span around 1 p.m., but Melanie Chatterton managed to find a gap in the foot traffic.
“It was really well laid out, and a lot less people than I thought were going to be in there,” she said. “They were efficient with grabbing my ID and pointing which way to go. It took almost no time at all to vote.”
Chatterton believes it’s a particularly important year to have a say in which party will lead the province forward.
“Obviously we’ve got a lot going on in the world with the pandemic, with veterans rights, with women’s rights, with so many things. It’s just important that you get out there and make your voice heard,” she said.
Regarding pandemic safety, Keenan Carley felt the polling station could have better utilized the rec centre’s numerous exits when directing voters in and out of the building.
“Right here there was whole bunch of action going on,” he said, gesturing to a narrow foyer where entrance and exit doors were positioned side by side. “Maybe they should have people come in, do their thing and then leave through an entirely different exit, which is easy to do in this building.”
Gwen Halbauer never misses an opportunity to cast her vote, and said the voting process felt safe, clear and efficient. The pandemic made things slightly different this time around, she said. As an example, she declared her consent verbally rather than with a signature.
“It’s one of your Canadian rights,” she said. “You should get out and vote, otherwise you don’t have a right to complain, right?”
Voting places will be available until 8 p.m. tonight. For a list of voting stations in Vernon, go here.