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Advance poll turnout up from last municipal election: Elections Regina

An advanced poll sign at Northgate Mall on Oct. 19. File / Global News

An increased number of voters turned up at the advance polls ahead of Regina’s municipal election on Oct. 26.

According to Elections Regina, 7,296 cast their ballot at six locations around the city from Oct. 19-22, up 31.5 per cent from 5,547 who voted at the advance polls in 2012.

“We didn’t have any firm number on what we were looking for,” Nicol said.

“Conservatively speaking, I think 10 per cent would have been a nice bump.”

Full Coverage: Regina Votes 2016

Chief Returning Officer Jim Nicol said it’s hard to pinpoint one cause for the spike in numbers, the city hopes that its efforts to get out information about advance polls through the Elections Regina website, social media and other media campaigns.

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“You didn’t have to necessarily have to vote in your home wards. You could vote in any of these polling stations across the city,” Nicol said.

“We made a conscious effort to try and make sure that people understood that this was a very easy and very timely way that they could get out there and cast their ballots.”

The location with the highest number of advanced voters was the Victoria Square Mall at 1,981 followed by the Northgate Mall at 1,639 voters. The South Leisure Centre saw 1,420 advance voters while the North West Leisure Centre saw 1,173.

Nicol said advance voting may have been attractive to some residents due to the lack of lines and the location being in convenient locations where people may run errands. However, he said the city can’t be certain why some locations did better than others.

“A lot of people will tell you they can do it when they are out and about,” Nicol said.

The two locations that saw the lowest were Regina City Hall at 599 and the drive-thru voting booth, also located at city hall at 484. Both of those locations were only open Wednesday to Friday, while the malls and leisure centres were also open on Saturday.

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Despite the lower numbers at the drive-thru, Nicol said the city would like to bring the booth back for the next election.

“As people’s shopping patterns change, their driving patterns change. We all know how popular drive-thrus are with respect to coffee shops and restaurants and I think it’s just one more option we provide. For people who went through it, they seemed to be generally pleased,” Nicol said.

During the election on Oct. 26, there will be 30 polling stations across the Queen City and Nicol said they hope to see an increase in regular poll numbers as well.

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