By Lethbridge Herald on October 8, 2021.
Lethbridge residents are being served up a slew of options at a drive-thru operating this weekend at Exhibition Park.
But this drive-thru isn’t serving burgers and fries: its menu features 32 city council and six mayoral candidates.
The drive-through advance polling station, accessible through the east entrance of Exhibition Park near Bully’s, runs from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. today and Sunday.
On the first day of voting Friday, vehicles were lined up onto the inside lane of westbound South Parkside Drive as voters turned out to cast ballots before the Thanksgiving weekend.
The city stated Saturday morning a new one-day advance polling record was set Friday at Exhibition Park with 1,420 ballots cast there.
People interested in wait times can find out in advance by checking the City’s website at lethbridge.ca
Returning officer Bonnie Hilford told media Friday that “we thank Lethbridgians for their patience today on this new initiative,” she said of the long line.
Hilford said the first two days of advance polling attracted 1,255 voters, compared to 543 in 2017, more than double the turnout for the most recent municipal election.
“That’s very encouraging,” Hilford said.
“We’re hoping people have patience lining up,” she added.
“I think people are quite informed this election,” she said as a possible reason for the strong early turnout.
“They’ve been watching the videos, they’ve been reading a lot, so they want to come out, they want to make their decision. With COVID still lingering, people want to have a safe place to vote and in their car, they feel that’s the place to do it,” Hilford said.
The drive-thru option may also operate on Election Day, Hilford added.
“We are considering doing this on Election Day; we just wanted to see how it went this weekend, if it’s popular. And it is popular. If people have a good experience with it, then we may look at doing it on Election Day for sure,” she said.
With horse racing and a farmers market also running this weekend at Exhibition Park, Hilford said a scrum was being held Friday to discuss what can be done to alleviate the lineups and “see what can be done to make things easier for people coming to vote and people that are doing other business here at the Exhibition. We want to make sure that everybody has a good experience and can get where they need to be,” she said.
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