About 2,400 people had voted as of 20 minutes ago but no one can predict which way anything is going to go — even for high-profile current councillors. The crowd is just too hard to read at this point, with no one group dominating. It pretty much looks like the PNE (if the PNE served only tofu, really great French cheeses, samosas, and pork buns), with a mix of Indo-Canadian, nice liberal west siders, Chinese, young enviro kids, dedicated longtime lefties, Filipinos, etc etc. A few buses have arrived, but not in overwhelming numbers.
And it all depends on how those groups are filling out their slates. (Remember, no one is allowed to “plump”, i.e. vote only for their candidate or a small group. Everyone has to vote for the full set of whichever slates they vote on.) Vision’s president, Mike Magee, said just now that “there could be some surprises.” That’s been echoed by other party workers in the last while. That’s for two reasons. One, even the slate voters have to put some other names down. Two, there are still a lot of people coming out, inspired by the idea of a new party and a new way of doing things, who are actually sitting down with the party’s booklet on all the candidates and thoughtfully picking out exactly who they support. (You can imagine how long that’s taking at the ballot box, since they have to pick 16 names out of 37.)
All of that could mean that a current councillor or two might get dropped in favour of the new candidates who are drawing a lot of supporters. And there’s no guarantee who those new candidates will be.
By the way, compared to the last vote, where there was almost war inside the voting room over the difficulties being created for ethnic candidates to vote, everything seems quite quiet this time. I’ve heard some grumbling that it’s perhaps swung too far the other way, with families allowed to cluster around and all fill out their ballots together while looking at campaign material and so on.
What else is going on? In keeping with the folk festival/PNE atmosphere, there was some kid juggling something out on the paved section by the gym where everyone is gathered, while another kid was doing a rap song while his pals operated the video camera and boom box to film it/provide the sound while he moved through the crowd. There are more candidate booths than I realized before, because several of them set up on the greenway behind and east of the school: Geoff Meggs, Demitri Douzenis, Rey Umlas, and Heather Harrison, along with the tailgate parties by Andrea Reimer and the park-board crew west of the school. (By the way, in previous posts, I’ve neglected to mention that Demitri’s crew is quite numerous and noticeable in their black T-shirts with green and blue lettering.)
There are still some perplexed candidates being caught up in the whole slate/cross-endorsing thing. School-board candidate Stepan Vdovine, who’s been working with the Vision education group in that party of four, found himself included in a completely different slate, with Narinder Chhina, Sharon Gregson and Ken Clement — the counter group to the Vision education people. He’s dissociated himself from that one, but the sample ballots are being circulated. Sarah Blyth has also been working tightly with her group of four — herself, Constance Barnes, Aaron Jasper and Raj Hundal — but she, Jasper and Hundal have found themselves included in a ballot that Tony Kosovic is handing out, where he’s got X’s marked next to those three names and his own.
Those two ballots are being passed out by people who also have a council slate that includes: the four existing councillors, the powerful Coalition of Three (Andrea Reimer, Kerry Jang and Kashmir Dhaliwal) and, for that coveted eighth spot, Geoff Meggs.