By Jennifer Hoegg
Where and when to vote has been a little confusing in Kings County’s District 1. Some residents received voter information cards with errors.
Rick Graham, in polling District 1F, got a card in the mail Oct. 10 with two advance poll locations for Oct. 13 and 16 – New Minas and Baxter’s Harbour – and no election day poll information.
Graham was the community hall representative who handled the bookings for election day, Oct. 20, and knew right away the card was wrong.
“There is no voting at the (Baxter’s Harbour) community hall Oct. 13,” he said, expressing concerns voters could be misdirected.
“I think it’s just a mistake,” Graham said, “but some people are upset.”
Returning officer Heather Archibald said a sign would be placed at the hall directing voters to the advance poll location for District 1: the New Minas fire hall.
“There was a printing error,” Archibald said Oct. 12. “Instead of having ordinary polling day, it was labeled as advance polls and nothing with the ordinary date.”
Corrected cards are in the mail, she added.
“I jumped on it right away and fixed it.”
Candidate Kim MacQuarrie said she was aware of the issue and has the proper poll information on her website.
“The county acted quickly to rectify the problem,” MacQuarrie said. “The plan is to have new … cards in the mail tomorrow (Oct. 11) so that people receive them prior to ordinary polling day.”
Candidate Ron MacInnis said there were issues in other parts of the district.
“It’s the same thing, they put that the voting would take place in Kingston, not Kingsport, which just caused much merriment and confusion.”
Sandra Ells, a Medford resident, confirmed she received an incorrect voter card in District 1C, directing her to vote on election day at the Lloyd Memorial Hall at 29 Main St., Kingston. While there is a Lloyd Memorial Hall in Kingsport, it’s not where polls have been held in her memory, so she said there may be confusion for residents.
“We have always voted at the United Church,” Ells said.
Archibald was just hearing about the Kingsport/Kingston mix up Friday afternoon.
“All I can assume is it was a print issue,” she said.
The returning officer said it is unfortunate cards showed up in mailboxes with so close to the advance poll date.
Archibald added she didn’t know why voters received the information just three days before the advance polls, as the cards were mailed in late September.
“I don’t know why they have taken so long to get out. Once they are in Canada Post’s hands I have no control over it.”
“The playing field is somewhat less than equal now,” MacInnis said of the confusion.
“It disrupts the way the democratic process works.”
An advance poll for all voters in District 1 will be held at the New Minas Fire Hall, 6 Jones Rd., Oct. 13 and 16 from noon to 8 p.m.