Stephen Lowry, a scrutineer for the 2018 municipal elections in Salmon Arm, says the voter turnout has been great this year and noted the line snaked right out the door in the early hours of polls being open. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm polling stations reporting good turnout on election day

Early morning rush leaves polling staff feeling democracy is alive and well

According to those working the polling stations, voter turnout is high in Salmon Arm and it’s great to see residents are committed to being a part of the democratic process.

Polls have been open since 8 a.m today, with many eager voters turning up early to cast their ballots at both of the city’s main polling stations.

At the SASCU Recreation Centre the gym was buzzing with activity as voters filed in and out to cast their ballots. While the line was moving along at a quick pace during the afternoon, electoral scrutineer Stephen Lowry says the polls were packed first thing this morning.

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“It’s been an amazing turnout today, people were lined up right out the door,” he says. “Democracy is absolutely alive and in action here today.”

In his role as a scrutineer, Lowry attends the polling station and watches for things that are out of place or not allowed at the polling station. For example, voters aren’t allowed to campaign for their preferred candidate by bringing signage or wearing flashy memorabilia which might sway other voters. He also tries to help wherever he can to make the process easier for voters.

“I assist with confusion where I can, giving people information on how to vote, helping with things like ID forms and what is acceptable,” Lowry says. “It’s also nice to meet and greet all kinds of people and the process happening.”

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In 2018 there is an additional polling station, located in the Mall at Piccadilly near the Shoppers Drug Mart location. This is the first year a polling station has been opened in the mall, and deputy chief electoral officer Patti Ferguson says voters have been grateful to have another option.

“It’s been very successful, people have said they would prefer to have a central place for voting, many people said we should try one here at the mall during the previous election,” she says.

Much like the polls at the recreation centre, Ferguson noted that early in the day there was a significant rush to the polls.

“We have had a steady turnout all day so far. In fact this morning they were lined up out the hall and into the mall,” she says. “We had to actually bring in a third table because we had so many people here to vote at eight this morning.”

Related: Getting to know the trustee candidates in Salmon Arm

Polls are open in Salmon Arm until 8 tonight, and the Observer will be reporting the results as soon as results are in.

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