The District of Lake Country will spend $5,000 more than the anticipated $10,000 to hold the April 25 referendum on the CN Rail corridor in an effort to reduce wait times and improve the voting experience for residents in the much-anticipated referendum question.
It’s expected the referendum on April 25 as well as advance polling in the wards will now cost Lake Country $15,000 to pull off when it asks residents whether to support the borrowing of $2.6 million to purchase the CN Rail corridor running through Lake Country borders.
Councillors approved the request for an additional $5,000 to increase staff at the George Elliot polling station, the only station that will be open on referendum day April 25. But the money will also go towards four advance polling days, one in each of the Lake Country’s wards.
“Many electors expressed concerns that both the 2011 and 2014 election wait times were unacceptable,” said Reyna Seabrook, Lake Country’s corporate services manager in a report to council. “Additional staffing, a revised registration process and voting in each of the wards will assist in making the 2015 referendum a smoother process with shorter wait times.”
Staff are bracing for the referendum to have a higher turnout than any of the past voting days held in Lake Country since incorporation. Voter turnout in municipal elections was 30 per cent in 2011 and 24 per cent in 2014. The highest voter turnout was in 1999 when 43 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.
“It is believed that the 2015 referendum will have a significantly higher voter turnout and staff would like to provide an improved voting experience,” said Seabrook, who also noted the registration process will be streamlined with more tables open during the general voting day. Staff will also be increased with as many as 25 staff working the referendum as opposed to 10 that worked the 2014 general election.
Advance voting dates:
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 16, 2015 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Oyama Community Hall
Friday, April 17, 2015 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Carr’s Landing Fire Hall
Monday, April 20, 2015 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Okanagan Centre Community Hall
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 8 am. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 25
General Voting Day
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.