TORONTO, Ont. – There were a steady flow of voters as advance polls opened in Toronto Tuesday and other parts of the GTA — Oakville, Oshawa and Vaughan — for the municipal elections.
Former mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson was one of the first to arrive at the polling stations, voting for her new ally George Smitherman.
“He’s got an amazing transit plan, and the city needs someone who can look at the full economy and move us forward,” Thomson told 680News.
She said her purpose in voting early was that she “just wanted to show people that I’m behind him, and I’ll be behind him right to the end.”
Her name remained on the ballot, however, as she did not drop out soon enough for it to be altered.
Advance polls ahead of the October 25 election were made available for those who cannot make it on the actual date, or anyone who has already made up their mind.
While the ballots given on election day will be paper only, advance stations feature electronic touch screens.
“It’s a big giant red button that glows on top and says ‘vote’. You hit that button and your vote’s cast,” said Stephan, one of many to participate in the advanced polls.
Those who arrived on Tuesday stated a number of reasons for voting three weeks early.
“I’ve already decided on who I want to vote for,” one man told 680News.
“I happened to be taking my wife downtown for lunch, so I’ll kill two birds with one stone”, admitted another.
Some cited vacation time being the reason they will not be present on the actual day.
Meanwhile, one woman took the opportunity to remind citizens that it is a duty to vote, remarking how she does not understand why municipal elections generally attract a low voter turnout.
“It’s pretty upsetting to think that many people don’t feel engaged by their community, especially ’cause most of them seem to feel the right to complain”, Janet told 680News.
For those wondering about the cost of electing local representatives, “we have a budget of $7.3 million for this election”, said Director of Election Services Bonita Pietrangelo.
Early voting runs through Friday, and again the following Tuesday and Wednesday (October 12-13).
Voters can cast their early ballot at City Hall and the East York, Etobicoke, North York, York and Scarborough civic centres.
All advance polling stations are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Click here for the advance poll locations in Toronto.
Weekend advance polls will be held October 16-17.
Voters have to bring identification showing their name, signature and Toronto address. Click here for the city’s voter information guide.
Advancing voting for Brampton, Markham, Whitby, Newmarket, Ajax and Aurora will start over the weekend or next week.
Meanwhile, voter information cards have been mailed to eligible Toronto voters whose names are on the voters’ list. The cards will inform voters where they should go to vote, either during the advance vote or on election day.
People who have not received their card by mid-October can call 311 to find out where they go to vote. Receiving a voter information card is useful but it is not required to vote.
Voters must cast their ballot only in the ward in which they live.
Toronto voters can also use a feature on the city’s election website called “Where do I vote,” which will help them identify the location of their voting place.
Advancing voting will also start for other areas in the GTA: