Voter turn out down as of mid-Saturday
At the Randerson Ridge polling station there was a steady stream of people arriving through the morning to vote despite heavy rains.
But other polling stations are not so busy. By mid-afternoon the City knows the turn out is trending lower.
“I’m hearing so far from our IT department that the turn out isn’t quite as high as it was in 2014 for the municipal election,” says Nanaimo’s Chief Election Officer Sheila Gurrie. “Maybe it’s the weather that’s a factor but I’m hoping that it speeds up over the day and we get some more people out.”
And that’s factoring in record high advance polls. more than 4,000 people voted before today arrived which was a record advance turn out.
Voters are deciding whether to borrow $80 million to build an Events Centre at a location south of Port Place Mall. The anchor tenant would be a WHL team.
Proponents say it would bring money into the city. Critics dispute that and say there are better locations.
“I think we’re quite happy,” says No Vote 2017 spokesperson Don Bonner. “We believe we’re going to have a no vote victory today.”
“My gut instinct is great,” says Yes Vote spokesperson Tali Campbell. “I think it’s going to go through. I think Nanaimo has done their research.”
Their polar opposite views a constant but both sides are using similar tactics to get their voters to the polls.
“It’s important everyone gets out to vote,” says Campbell. “We’ve got rides going out today.”
“We have a big long contact list and we’re making sure they’re all being contacted,” says Bonner. “And we also have scrutineers at all of the polling stations.”
Both sides are hoping the referendum result will be decisive.
The last referendum in 2004 about building the Vancouver Island Conference Centre had a turn out of just above 50%.
That was a record. It was a 52 – 48% vote split.
There were also 48,000 eligible voters then compared to 68,000 now.
A much larger city making the largest spending decision in it’s history.