Eager to hit up the polls early, 15,919 people had already cast their ballots for the June 2 provincial election in the Sudbury and Nickel Belt electoral districts as of Monday.
This is a 5,991-person or 60.3 per cent increase over the 9,928 ballots cast in advance of the 2018 provincial election.
In 2018, 4,780 people voted at advance polling stations in Sudbury and 5,148 people cast a ballot at advance polling stations in Nickel Belt.
Thus far in this year’s provincial election season, 8,744 ballots have already been cast in Sudbury and 7,175 votes have been recorded in Nickel Belt. This accounts for 12.9 per cent of eligible voters in Sudbury and 10.4 per cent of eligible voters in Nickel Belt.
In 2018, 7.1 per cent of eligible voters took advantage of advance voting in Sudbury, and 7.7 per cent did so in Nickel Belt.
Between the two local electoral districts this time around, the total advance voter turnout of 11.7 per cent exceeded the 9.2 per cent recorded throughout the province as a whole as of Monday. In 2018, approximately 6.8 per cent of eligible voters showed up early in Ontario.
This year’s numbers remain fluid as they represent votes cast as of Monday and the latest estimates for the total number of eligible voters, which is likely to change by the end of the June 2 election day, according to an Elections Ontario spokesperson.
This year found the number of advance voting days double to 10 compared to the 2018 provincial election. The province also allowed for greater fluidity in where advance polling stations were allowed to be located. Whereas past election cycles required stations to be set up in a singular place for the full five-day advance voting period, this year allowed stations to shift to different locations during their 10 days.
Although advance voting stations have all closed, the two Nickel Belt returning offices and one Sudbury returning office will continue to offer people the opportunity to vote until 6 p.m. on June 1. Nickel Belt’s returning offices include Place Bonaventure Mall (4764 Regional 15 Road, Unit 21, Chelmsford) and the Gogama Community Centre (15 Low Ave., Gogama). Sudbury’s returning office is at the New Sudbury Centre (old SportChek), at 1349 Lasalle Blvd.
For a full listing of the Nickel Belt offices’ hours of operation, click here. For the Sudbury returning office’s hours of operation, click here.
“Whether you’re hard of hearing, hard of sight or any form of disability, we have all the equipment to accommodate your right to vote,” Nickel Belt returning officer Pauline Renaud told Sudbury.com.
Further, she said that home visits will be accommodated as much as possible until 6 p.m. on June 1.
“We do everything we can to make sure that everyone who wants to vote, votes,” she said. While also following the letter of the law, she added, “We will do everything humanly possible.”
The Nickel Belt returning office had facilitated 27 home visits and the Sudbury office has organized more than 50 as of Monday.
Those with questions about voting can phone their local returning office, with the Sudbury office available at 1-833-205-0189 and the Nickel Belt office available at 1-833-205-0055.
Voting can also be done on election day itself, Renaud said, during which polling stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The locations of assigned polling stations is available on the voter information cards eligible voters will have already received in the mail. Failing that, voters can also plug their postal code into the Elections Ontario website by clicking here.
Those voters who did not register can also register and vote in-person on the June 2 election day, Renaud said.
“If you show up with ID at your designated voting location, you will be voting.”
In the 2018 election, Nickel Belt recorded a voter turnout of 55.4 per cent while Sudbury recorded a turnout of 54 per cent. Between advertising, outreach officers getting the word out and other efforts to encourage people to engage in democracy, Renaud said she hopes to see this year’s turnout increase.
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.