Turnout described as heavy in Kelowna civic election

Lines at most polling stations during the day; extra staff called in.

Voter turnout was described as heavy at all civic election polling locations in Kelowna Saturday.

City clerk Stephen Fleming, speaking at the new polling location in Orchard Park Mall where there were lines most of the day, said the strong turnout even prompted election officials to call in extra people to man some Kelowna polling locations, the first time that has been done in recent memory during a civic election in the city.

Fleming said during the four days of advance polling, far more ballots had been cast than in previous civic advance polls. On Saturday, as of 2 p.m. the city said more than 12,000 had voted. When added to the advance poll numbers, more than 18,000 ballots had been cast. The number of votes cast in the advance poll was equivalent to about seven per cent of eligible voters, said Fleming.

The city is hoping its push to bring out more voters this year than the 19.4 per cent who showed up to cast ballots in the 2008 will substantially increase the turnout.

For this election, the city added two extra days of advance polls, a polling station in Orchard Park Shopping Centre, one at the Family Y in Rutland and polls at UBCO.

Polls close at 8 p.m. at all locations except Orchard Park, where the voting location closes at 6 p.m., when the mall closes.

Anyone in line to vote when the deadline passes will be allowed to cast a ballot, said Fleming.