Voters in Saskatoon and Regina who expected to beat the lines by voting on the first day of advance polls had to deal with long waits at some polling stations.
On Tuesday afternoon there was a steady stream of voters heading into the Core Ritchie Centre but the line of voters leaving the building had slowed down to a trickle by 4 p.m. Those who did come out reported a long line and a longer wait.
“The wait, well we got here I would say a good three quarters of an hour from the time we walked in to the time we walked out,” said Glen. “I don’t think it’s generally this busy, but maybe the first day.”
He wasn’t the only person surprised by the long line on the first day of advance polls.
“I thought it would be easier than coming on election day, but I’m not sure it was,” admitted Anne, who said the wait was between 45 minutes and an hour.
A few people walked out after seeing the long lines, noting that they were too busy to wait at this point but would come back another day.
“We actually left because it looked like the line-up was so long we were going to have to wait for half an hour,” explained Doug.
News Talk Radio heard reports of longer lines at several voting stations. Some people questioned whether the polling stations had enough people working, or if it was a lack of training that slowed them down.
At the Cathedral Community Centre on 13th Avenue, the line was quite short even as people finished work around 5 p.m.
“It’s very, very slow, that’s the longest we’ve ever waited and I’m not sure why, there’s not very many people in line, I don’t know if it’s the training,” said Heather.
Some voters reported waits of up to 10 or 15 minutes.
There were long lineups reported at polling stations in Saskatoon Tuesday.
Brian said it took about 45 minutes for 25 people to vote at the Westview polling station on 33rd Street.
“I was quite put off by it,” Brian said.
While he was waiting he said workers decided to set up another polling station without enough people to staff it.
“I saw that they had a ballot box. They prepped it and everything and it was just sitting on a table all by itself, not covered, not sealed.”
“Just the way this one was run was just horrible.”
Michael Boda, Chief Electoral Officer for Elections Saskatchewan said they anticipated longer waits at some stations on Tuesday and Saturday when traffic was expected to be the busiest.
Boda said Monday on Gormley they were still looking for more election workers in three communities including Saskatoon.
“We need more workers in that city,” said Boda who encouraged interested people to visit Elections Saskatchewan website.
Advance polls are open for the rest of the week between 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.
Information cards sent in the mail will tell voters where their advance polling location is. Voters who didn’t receive one can contact Elections Saskatchewan or visit their website to find their polling station.