The advance polls for Calgary’s municipal election opened Monday morning, and those who choose to vote early might notice a few differences from previous years.
For one thing, COVID-19 safety protocols are being followed. That means capacity limits and distancing are being enforced, and masks or face shields are required, city clerk Kate Martin says.
Masks, face shields and hand sanitizer are available at each voting station, as well.
“We will be encouraging voters to bring their own pencil or ballpoint pen to the voting stations,” Martin said.
Hours have been extended this year for the advance vote, which will run Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
There are also more polling stations across the city.
They include special “vote anywhere” polls at City Hall this week until Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and at the University of Calgary and Bow Valley College, Monday and Tuesday of this week, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Mount Royal University and SAIT will have early voting stations of their own this Wednesday and Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As for what seems to be top-of-mind for voters so far, several leaving the advance vote at the Crescent Heights Community Centre on Monday cited an old debate that’s new again: the plebiscite on water fluoridation.
“I think the fluoride in the water issue was very important to me, because it’s about … public health,” said Jacob Delde.
Meanwhile, the slew of fresh faces set to arrive on city council motivated others.
“Not having incumbents in my ward, or with the mayor, I thought it was really important this year, especially, to be able to vote for someone I thought would represent Calgary well,” said Aaron Petrowitsch.
General election day is Oct. 18. Polls will open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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