Mayoral candidates ramp up campaigning as election day nears

Click to play video: 'Politicians pound the pavement asking people to vote at advance polls'
Politicians pound the pavement asking people to vote at advance polls
WATCH: Politicians pound the pavement asking people to vote at advance polls – Oct 13, 2018

The clock is ticking down to election day, and campaign teams are laser focused as they do everything they can to maximize volunteers and resources.

On Oct. 22, Torontonians will decide who will lead their city.

Hundreds of supporters of mayoral candidate John Tory gathered Saturday to organize a targeted campaign.

“We make sure that those people who are out there go out and vote in advance,” said Abdulhai Patel, a volunteer for the campaign.

For Patel, his efforts are a family affair — he was there with his son and grandsons.

READ MORE: Toronto election 2018: Advance voting begins, poll locations open until Sunday

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They are part of a large group of supporters going to more than 7,500 homes of identified Tory supporters in Scarborough.

Tory stopped by to speak to the crowd as people gathered to hand out campaign materials.

With just over a week left, politicians know pounding the pavement is a sure-fire way to get support at the ballot box.

“This is not high-tech, but this is the key to winning elections,” Tory told an impassioned crowd. “You have to go and make sure people vote today in the advanced polls and that if they don’t vote today, they are going to vote a week from Monday.”

In a different part of the city, mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat held her own rally, looking to build momentum.

Keesmaat unveiled an action plan she hopes to address within her first 100 days, if elected. It includes tearing down a section of the Gardiner Expressway, building more affordable housing and tackling transit issues.

“I will assign a full-time, dedicated team to fast track work on the relief line. The buck stops with the mayor; the mayor needs to be held accountable for what happens in this city,” she said.

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It was a message that resonated with first-time voter Lara Weeks.

“It’s so nice, for my first time, to be able to support someone like that.”

Mayoral candidate Jennifer Keesmaat makes an announcement while campaigning. Chelsea Lecce / Global News

A key message from both candidates was that supporters needed to get out and vote.

When it comes to voter turnout, about 53 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballot in 2010. That number went up in 2014 to just over 60 per cent.

READ MORE: By the numbers: Toronto’s 2014 municipal election

Polling stations saw a steady stream of people turn up across the city on Saturday, all of whom had different reasons for casting their ballots early.

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“I think having a little baby, it was easier to do it on a weekend where we can get it done without him getting too upset,” one voter told Global News.

Others cited shorter lines and better parking as reasons they were voting early.

But for the most part, early votes boiled down to one simple thing — making sure their candidates had their support well ahead of the deadline.

Advance polls run until Sunday, Oct. 14.

For a full list of voting locations, look here.

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