It’s the first day for advanced polling in the 2019 federal election, a day many political enthusiasts look forward to casting their ballot on, well in advance of the Monday, Oct. 21 election date.
But for a few here in Kingston on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, a glitch in the system meant being told their polling station address differed from the one on their Voter Registration Card. One such resident, Bryant Tong, found himself at the address listed on his card – St. Andrew’s By-The-Lake United Church at 1 Redden Street – for polling station 609, only to be told that polling 609 was at the INVISTA Centre, which is located at 1350 Gardiners Road.
At the time, those with Elections Canada St. Andrew’s assumed it was just an error, and that Tong had shown up at the wrong location – an easy mistake that happens to a few people during any election, inevitably. Tong said he was offered the opportunity to register and vote at St. Andrew’s, but instead elected to go to the poll he was assigned.
However, after Tong went on his way to successfully cast his ballot at the INVISTA Centre, another voter showed up at St. Andrew’s with the exact same issue. It was at that point the Elections Canada workers at St. Andrew’s contacted the Returning Officer (RO) for Kingston and the Islands, Susan Brenda Long-Poucher.
“They went ‘Oh, this is bigger. This is not just one person, here.’ And so they fixed it, and people will not be turned away anymore,” said Rejean Gernier, Regional Media Advisor with Elections Canada for Ontario.
“Some of the first people that got there, that happened to them, and it was an error. And it was an error by Elections Canada, and it has been rectified.”
According to Gernier, because of the mishap where some voters may have been sent to the wrong place, Long-Poucher has allowed for both locations (St. Andrew’s and the INVISTA Centre) to deal with those voters – in short, both locations will deal with the 609 polling.
“So if they have a card that tells them to go to INVISTA, well, they go to INVISTA. So it should work out now,” he said.
“People will be served, and the issue has been recognized and fixed.”
Gernier said it was too early for any information on the attendance at advanced polls, nothing that information should be available mid-week on the week beginning Monday, Oct. 14, 2019.