Shirley Sahlstrom

Shirley Sahlstrom

Election 2015: Options available to cast ballot

NANAIMO – Distance to polling station concerns downtown senior.

With the 2015 Canadian election campaign drawing to a close, a Nanaimo senior is concerned about accessibility for older voters who reside downtown.

Advance voting concluded yesterday and with general election day Monday (Oct. 19), Jean Thomson, a 96-year-old Nanaimoite who resides at a Cameron Island building, says she will have to go to Harewood Activity Centre, at 195 Fourth St., to vote.

Thomson, who uses a walker, said she’s concerned about the distance and topography.

“It’s 2.3 kilometres each way to get over to the polling station on Fourth Street and it’s uphill,” she said.

While Thomson said she’ll be able to get a ride to vote, she worries about other seniors in the area.

Elaine Shorrocks said she had to travel from her Harewood-area residence to Brechin Elementary School to take part in advance voting Friday.

“I wouldn’t have brought myself – I don’t have a car. So if it wasn’t for my neighbour that was going too, I wouldn’t vote,” Shorrocks said.

Dorothy Sitek, Elections Canada’s B.C. media spokeswoman, said it’s important that polling station locations be at reasonable distances for all electors.

“It is the local Elections Canada officials who make the decisions on the ground on the location of polls, both for election day and advance polling days, but if it’s not convenient, you can vote by special ballot. You can actually vote from the comfort of your own home. You can ask for a special ballot kit to be mailed to you,” she said.

Special ballot requests must be made by today (Oct. 13) at 6 p.m. Nanaimo’s Elections Canada office is located at the former Dufferin Elementary School site, 1111 Dufferin Cres.

Electors looking to vote in person must go to the polling station designated on their voter’s card, said Sitek.

In order to find out which polling station to go to vote, she recommends going to Election Canada’s website and entering your postal code in the “My voter information” section.

For more information, please go to www.electionscanada.ca or call 1-800-463-6868.