19 May 2018 Posted By : Administrator

Fewer advance polls confound Ottawa Centre NDP candidate

Voters looking to get a jump on exercising their civic duty this Ontario election will have fewer places to go, and one candidate isn't impressed.

Elections Ontario has reduced the number of advance polling locations in Ottawa Centre, from 11 during the 2014 campaign to just four this year. Every other Ottawa riding also has four locations for this election. 

NDP candidate Joel Harden said that doesn't make sense.

"I am a candidate in this race and I want everyone, regardless of who they are voting for, to have access to democracy," he said. "I don't hear a good rationale for why we have reduced our advance polls."

Many people in Ottawa Centre get around with public transit, and with so few locations to vote in advance, it will be difficult, he said.

NDP candidate Joel Harden is concerned there are not enough locations for advance voting in Ottawa Centre and elsewhere. (Idil Mussa/CBC)

Technological improvements

Jessica Pellerin, a spokesperson for Elections Ontario, said they felt technological improvements meant they didn't have the same advanced polling needs this time around.

"Elections Ontario continues to invest in making voting more efficient. Our investments include the use of technology in the polls, such as vote tabulators and e-poll books, which are new for the 2018 election," she said. "This has led to efficiencies in the number of voting locations required to serve Ontarians."

People can vote in advance polls between May 26 and May 30.

Liberal Ottawa Centre incumbent Yasir Naqvi said he wants people to be able to vote, but also respects the independence of Elections Ontario. He added his campaign will help anyone who needs it get to the polls.

"We as a campaign are obviously quite motivated and making sure they have the opportunity to come out and vote," he said.

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