Many voters took advantage of opportunities to cast their ballots early at advance polling stations throughout the South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale riding.

Many voters took advantage of opportunities to cast their ballots early at advance polling stations throughout the South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale riding.

Advance-voter turnout higher than usual

Higher than usual traffic at advance polls in South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale this week may mean a higher local turnout in the riding for the May 2 federal election, Elections Canada returning officer Bryce Dudley said.

Eleven advance polls opened in the riding April 22, 23 and 25 collected 7,641 ballots from a cross-section of voters.

The busiest day was Easter Monday, when 3,320 voters headed to the advance polling stations, which included Sunrise School in Cloverdale, St. John’s Church and the Elks Club in White Rock and Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Surrey.

“(The overall turnout) was higher than normal, normal being around 5,500,” he said. “Last election was less than 6,000. About 6,000 is high, and I believe the highest ever was around 9,000.”

The higher turnout meant some delays for voters waiting to mark their ballots, Dudley acknowledged.

“There were lots of lineups,” he said. “Some people weren’t very happy, but there’s not much we can do about it.

“This indicates that we might have more people out next Monday.”

Dudley added that Elections Canada encourages workers and political party volunteers who might have difficulty finding time to vote on election day to utilize advance polls. Seniors usually wait for the mobile polls on election day, he added.

In Fleetwood-Port Kells, returning officer Denis Weiss would not release the number of advance ballots but said turnout there was also “noticeably higher” than usual.

But he said this does not necessarily mean a larger turnout on May 2.

“I think it was that there were more opportunities to vote because both Friday and Monday were holidays,” he said.