Mail-in ballots a bust as replacement for mobile polls at senior centres


“It doesn’t feel as private as going to put their X in the box when all the formalities were there to keep things secure.”

Mail-in ballots, which were brought in this year to replace mobile polling stations at retirement homes during elections past, aren’t generating nearly the same interest from elderly voters.

At Highgate Lodge, where general manager Linda Bishop estimates about 70 per cent of the residents are engaged in the municipal election, only four people have taken advantage of the mail vote.

“Saanich was extremely good at making us aware of the mail-in ballots, but we’re dealing with an elderly group,” Bishop said. “They’re cautious of the mail-in ballots. It’s new to them, it doesn’t feel as private as going to put their X in the box when all the formalities were there to keep things secure.”

Bishop says an additional two residents – out of 58 total – have signed up to get a ride to a polling station on election day.

She says 15 of the residents can drive, so she hopes they’ll take advantage of their mobility to get to a polling station.

“They liked it when the mobile poll came here. It was nice and easy for them to just come down and vote,” Bishop said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by mayoral candidate David Cubberley, who’s been to three retirement homes where most residents have told him there’s confusion around how they can vote.

“They’re understanding there isn’t a mobile poll (this election), but there isn’t any clear sense of what the alternative is,” Cubberley said. “We’ve gone from convenience to ‘you have to help yourself to get to vote,’ and that’s the wrong direction. It’s not the way to get more people voting.”

Mayor Frank Leonard says he’s hearing more positive comments than anything else about the mail-in ballots at retirement homes.

“We’ll have to review the practice and recommend what to do three years from now. We’ll all learn from this experience,” he said.

As of last week about 300 Saanich residents had applied for a mail-in ballot. The ballot is available to snowbirds, students studying abroad and those with mobility issues.

You can still apply to receive a mail-in ballot (until 4 p.m. on Nov. 17) by calling 250-475-1775, visiting Saanich municipal hall (770 Vernon Ave.) or by checking saanich.ca/living/election.html.

If you receive a mail-in ballot it is your responsibility to ensure it is returned to the chief elections officer before 8 p.m. on Nov. 19, otherwise it will not be counted.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Garry oaks come down on Finnerty Road

Saanich road to be widened for two-way bike lanes, sidewalks

B.C. budget will have ‘very little impact’ on poverty, advocates say

New Child Opportunity Benefit and income assistance increases are too small for a large effect

Victoria council has no authority to tax cruise ship passengers, says mayor

Proposal circulating online hasn’t formally been brought to council

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Vancouver Island petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

‘A little baloney’ in PM’s claim about solicitor-client privilege on SNC-Lavalin

The Conservatives and NDP want Trudeau to waive that privilege so Wilson-Raybould can offer her side of the story

Proposed edible pot rules are wasteful, would leave products tasteless: critics

When Canada legalized weed last fall, it only allowed fresh or dried bud, oil, plants and seeds

Samsung folding phone is different – but also almost $2,000

But most analysts see a limited market for foldable-screen phones

Most Read