As early as 7:30 Monday morning, Lethbridge residents began heading to their local polling stations to cast their ballots in the 2021 federal election.
Read more: Watch Live: 2021 Canadian election coverage
Due to COVID-19, nearly half of the city’s west side residents were prompted to vote at Exhibition Park across town, as opposed to a closer location.
David Walters, Lethbridge’s returning office with Elections Canada, told Global News this was due to a lack of voting spaces, as schools in the city are not open as voting locations this year.
He said other west Lethbridge residents were told to vote at the ATB Centre or one of three churches.
Despite the reduction in spaces, residents who voted during the day were pleased with the process.
“We walked in (and) it was pretty easy to find our polling station,” said Mackenzie Nimmo, a student and first-time voter. “They have them laid out pretty social-distanced apart. It was pretty nicely organized.”
“It may have taken us five minutes on the outside,” said Andrew Johnstone. “Everyone there seemed to know exactly what they were doing.”
According to Elections Canada, 88,916 registered voters reside in the Lethbridge riding, which includes Lethbridge County.
In 2019, 16,581 people voted in advance, and a total of 66,217 ballots were cast.
This year, advance voting ran from Sept. 10-13, and preliminary numbers show 18,248 people voted on those days in the riding, an increase of 1,667 over the previous election.
Voting runs until 7:30 p.m. MT