Kingston voters weigh in on federal election

Kingston’s Leons Centre is one of the polling stations for this year’s federal election on Monday, September 20, 2021. Photo by Yona Harvey.

From 9:30 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. today, Monday, September 20, 2021, Canadians will cast their vote at this year’s election.

“I feel good, I’m excited,” said Abby Busche, 21, a Queens University student waiting outside the Leon’s Centre polling station in Kingston to fill out her ballot. She is finding the voting process a frustration, as her home address is in Port Dover, and she did not get a voter information card with her polling station information, she expressed.

“I’m confused about where my polling station is. My address isn’t the same as the one here… I found that part difficult, I didn’t even know you could vote online, either,” she added.

Busche tried to register online, however she did not get anything printed out as she doesn’t have a printer, and was not aware she had other options, such as mail-in voting and advance polls.

“I found that getting my vaccine was easier. There’s so many barriers [to voting]. I’m just trying to vote, why is it taking so long?” she said.

Calling the election “ridiculous,” especially during a pandemic, she said that candidates’ take on social issues will influence her decision today.

“At this point ,the issues we should be focusing on should be people’s lives: focus on the people, issues that people experience,” said Busche.

An older adult waiting for her sister at the Leon’s Centre had already cast her vote at the Montreal Street Royal Canadian Legion. She said voting was easy at the legion, and that she was “in and out” in no time. “There was nobody there, no line up (when I voted).”

Unlike Busche, who didn’t get a voter information card, she received two election cards in the mail. “I shouldn’t have had two,” said the voter, who preferred not to give her name.

Mark Rundle, who lives in the west end outskirts of Kingston, will vote later today after work. He came down to Leons Centre to “support the democratic process” of his friend Fletcher (who did not want to reveal his last name). Both work for a bank in downtown Kingston.

“I guess it’s one of those things where (Trudeau) felt he needed to do what he needed to do. It is what it is at the end of the day… we’ll have our say when we vote,” Rundle said of this election.

Ten dollar a day child care, national pharmacare pilot programs and a feasible and reasonable climate change strategy—these are the issues that will influence Fletcher’s vote.

Local residents line up to cast their ballots in Kingston and the Islands at the Leon’s Centre in downtown Kingston, which is serving as a polling station for the 2021 federal election. Photo by Yona Harvey.

In a cafe nearby, Bill, 78, (who did not want to reveal his full name) had already cast his vote last Friday, September 17, 2021.

“It was the fact that two major parties are so closely neck and neck in terms of the polls… maybe there’s a party that will make a bit of an improvement. I’m trying to help some of the smaller parties get a bit of an edge, put a little bit of social pressure on the others,” he revealed as a factor for his vote.

“The timing wasn’t good. I think the Liberals thought they were confident, thought they had COVID under control. It was a miscalculation,” Bill said.

As for his experience with early voting, he said it was “a bit slow”.

“It didn’t have to be very long… it was inefficient. I had the [voter information] card, [but] they’re trying to do social distancing. It slows it down, just like it does for everything. I don’t blame them, it’s COVID that slowed down everything.”

Bill’s friend Hank (who also preferred not to give his full name), who will vote later, said that “it was totally irresponsible that [Trudeau] called an election. No regard for what it costs to run an election. That’ll influence my [voting] decision.”

“It’s expensive (to have an election),” Bill agreed.

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