On voting day, it may be a challenge to find a polling station

On voting day, it may be a challenge to find a polling station
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In each of the 13 municipalities that make up the Capital Regional District, voting stations will be set up and ready Saturday morning.

But the number of stations varies in each community, a surprise to Dan Reeve, political science instructor, at Camosun College.

“You have a municipality like Victoria with about 90,000 residents and 13 polling stations. That seems kind of familiar, in line with what I expect for provincial or federal elections. Then you have a municipality like Langford, with about half the population of Victoria, but only three voting stations.”

In Saanich, there will be 17 polling stations open Saturday.

Next door in Victoria, there are 13 locations to vote.

In Langford, the fastest-growing community on the Island, only three polling stations will be open.

In Central Saanich, a municipality a third the size of Langford, will also have three polling stations.

Reeve said the number of polling stations in Langford is not in line with its population.

“You have almost 50,000 and you have three voting stations, that seems like a very low bar.”

Turnout for the 2018 municipal election in Saanich, Victoria, and Central Saanich ranged from 33 per cent to 45 per cent.

That year just one in five Langford residents cast a ballot, 18-per cent, the third lowest turnout in B.C.

Reeve said voters tend to get out in greater numbers if it’s easy to find a polling station.

“When you have fewer voter stations, the lineups get bigger. And the sense, or even the perception that the lineups will be bigger, will be just enough of a disincentive that those marginal voters who could vote, or might vote, they are the ones who are going to drop off. And so you’ll see voting rates that typically go down.”

Voters can cast their ballots Saturday between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Island Votes 2022: Find your local government candidates here

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Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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