Today’s the last chance to cast your ballot early
With voter turnout on par with that in the last municipal election and few ranked balloting gripes so far, city election officials hope advance polls are a harbinger of what’s to come on Oct. 22.
Eligible voters can cast ballots at eight locations around the city until 8 p.m. today, the final day of advance polls.
Voter turnout at the advance polls — which opened Tuesday — is on par with what the city saw in the 2014 election, city clerk Cathy Saun- ders. By Friday afternoon, more than 9,700 Londoners already had cast ballots.
“We still have one more day to go, so you never know what the final turnout is going to be,” she said. “We saw an increase in the (overall) voter turnout in 2014, so obviously we’re hoping to increase that even more this time.”
This year’s municipal election is the debut of ranked balloting. Extra staff are stationed at advance poll locations to answer questions about the new voting system, Saunders said.
“(Staff ) greet the voter as they’re coming in and ask them if they’re aware of the ranked choice vote,” she said. “(They) inform them about the opportunity that they have to pick up to three individuals if they wish . . . We repeat it again as they’re handed their ballot.”
Ranked balloting is for mayor and council positions. School board trustees are chosen by the first-past-the-post system, Saunders said.
“We’re quite pleased. It appears that a lot of the voters that are coming to the poll have heard about the ranked choice vote and are at least aware of it,” she said.
Saunders said learning they can make a single choice has allayed some voters’ fears.
“I think there was a lot of confusion in the community that if they only chose one candidate and didn’t choose three that it would be a spoiled ballot, but that’s not the case. They can pick one, two or three,” she said.
Though some voters aren’t pleased with ranked balloting and say so at the polls, overall response from early voters has been positive, Saunders said.
“We haven’t received a lot of negative comments at the poll. We were anticipating that and are pleasantly surprised we’re not seeing that occur. So far, so good,” she said.