Some Lambton-Kent-Middlesex voters misdirected to advance polls

Some London-region voters taking advantage of advance polls found themselves taking about a half hour drive, only to find out they were in the wrong place.

They then had another half hour drive to get to the right polling station —misinformation on voter registration cards is to blame.

Around 12 p.m. Monday, a silver sedan slid into a parking space at the polling station at the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation administration office. A worker was quick to go out and greet the driver and 45 minutes later Richard Renaud was pulling into the polling centre in Komoka.

“Mistakes can happen but I’ve heard this is happening quite a bit this time.”

The card mailed to voters in the Komoka/Kilworth area had the right location for the Sept. 20 election day, but the wrong location for advance polls.

Renaud says technology made his journey even more of an adventure, “We got lost, a little bit, because our GPS didn’t take us to the right place because it was quite, you know, more-or-less in the middle of nowhere. We were wondering, ‘Why are we coming here.’”

Elections Canada spokesperson Rejean Grenier says dramatic growth in the region may have been a contributing factor, with some new polling stations created for this part of the riding of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex. Some people were mistakenly reassigned in the shuffle.

The error was actually discovered on Aug. 30 and corrected cards were sent out, but some voters didn’t get them in time or may have thrown them out thinking they were getting duplicates in error.

Workers at the Komoka polling station say most people took the additional journey in stride, with part of the credit going to friendly staff at Chippewas of the Thames who were quick to get them back on the right track.

Still, Renaud worries some people may have decided not to make another effort to cast a ballot and those votes will be lost, adding, “Elections are important and they should have it right.”

Monday is the last day for advanced polls, with those locations closing at 9 p.m.

The next chance to vote will be Election Day, Sept. 20.