Advance polls open in North Bay to lines and anxious voters

There were lines at polling stations across North Bay on Friday as voters were hoping to cast their ballot before election day.

And Elections Canada is reminding voters what they need to know when hitting the poll booth.

The line outside of the Elk’s Lodge was long in the morning, with voters telling CTV News they want their voices heard.

“We figured it wouldn’t be that busy. We got here shortly after 10 a.m. and there was already a big, long lineup,” said voter Gloria Glenn.

Advance polls are open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. until Monday.

“I like to come out and get it done with,” said Bernadette Forth. “I can sit back … on the regular voting day and see what’s going on.”

The location of the poll is available on the voter information card that is mailed to residents.

“It’ll probably be the end of the day before we get a good handle on the numbers,” said Nipissing-Timiskaming returning officer Jim Mallory. “It’s usually quite heavy, the early part of the first day.”

There are four different ways to cast a ballot: vote on election day, vote by mail-in ballot, vote at advance polls or you can vote on a special ballot at the returning office.

“Voters need a piece of identification with a photo on it, such as a health card or driver’s license, and they need something that proves their address,” said Mallory.

Due to the ongoing health crisis, a number of traditional polling sites chose not to participate. Elections Canada had to find other sites.

There are some concern as 26 polling sites will be in one location at the North Bay Mall on Lakeshore Drive on election day.

“It does mean some people will have to travel from their traditional polling site to this one for hopefully the first and only time,” said Mallory.

Voters do not have to be vaccinated to cast their ballot. However, officials are asking people to wear masks and stay as physically distanced as possible.

Officials are expecting long lines throughout the advance polling and on election day.

“We’ve had some troublesome times so I just want to make sure my vote is heard,” said voter Wanda Doupe.

“If you don’t vote you can’t make a change,” said voter William Weir.

There are four candidates in the Nipissing-Timiskaming riding: Liberal Anthony Rota, Conservative Steven Trahan, NDP’s Scott Robertson and Greg Galante, the candidate for the People’s Party of Canada.

Election Day is Sept. 20.