Lineup frustrates advance poll voters in Comox

Sharon and Gene Scheidl are none too impressed with their Friday experience at the federal election advance polling station at the Comox Recreation Centre.

Sharon and Gene Scheidl are none too impressed with their Friday experience at the federal election advance polling station at the Comox Recreation Centre.

The Comox couple said seven people from Elections Canada were in attendance but just one voting booth was made available.

They waited more than an hour to cast their ballot.

“All in all, not the usual wonderful experience of discharging our civic duty,” Sharon states in a letter to the editor. “We only hope those disgruntled voters who could not, or would not, wait the lengthy wait, will have come back and voted in spite of Elections Canada and their minions.”

“We’re always sorry when someone has to wait,” Susan Friend of Elections Canada said in an interview. “It’s just a process and it takes time. We have to make sure things are done properly. There are certain procedures to follow, and they must be followed to the letter.”

Friend said Elections Canada received no reports of lineups after the first three hours on Friday.

Because advance poll lineups normally occur at peak hours, she advises people to vote in mid-afternoon or dinner time.

Sharon also noted that Gene refused to give his name to an NDP invigilator, who said it was her right to have his name.

“The returning officer admonished the invigilator and said that it was in fact the voter’s right not to have his name taken down,” she states.

Friend confirmed this is correct.

“People do have the right to ask that their name not be called out,” she said.

However, scrutineers at the back have a right to have the name of the voter, Friend added.

“The political parties use it to canvas so they know who’s voted and who hasn’t.”

The federal election is Monday, May 2.

Incumbent John Duncan (Conservative), Sue Moen (Green), Jason Draper (independent), Mike Holland (Liberal), Frank Martin (Marxist-Leninist) and Ronna-Rae Leonard (NDP) are running in Vancouver Island North.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com