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Mid-day from the Vancouver civic election

November 15th, 2008 · 4 Comments

It’s a lovely, rain-free day, warm enough for people to walk around with light jackets. That’s good news for voter turnout here, which is always seen as a crucial element in who wins.

Last time, 132,000 people voted. In 2002, it was about 140,000 — a high that hadn’t been seen since the 1980s.

What’s going to happen this time? Not clear yet. Paul Hancock from the city’s election office says turnout has been pretty steady, but it’s hard to say yet whether it will be higher. The advance polls were a lot higher — about 15,000 people voted in the four advance polls this year, compared to about 8,700 in 2005.

Certainly, Vision seems to have its team mobilized to drag out every last person prepared to vote for them. They have just over 1,000 volunteers out in the field, many of them working from “zone houses” in neighbourhoods, so as to spread out their personpower.

According to the NPA campaign office, the party has about about 500 volunteers out, although it has typically relied more on paid phone-banking to mobilize voters in the past.

I should say that I have already been given pretty good indications from both sides about what the results are likely to be, but in my Canadian fair-minded way, I won’t say what they are right now, so as to give everyone a chance to vote without noise going on. Watch this space at around 7:30.

For the moment, everyone just seems to be relieved that it’s finally voting day and the craziness is over at last.

Peter Ladner told reporters, who were waiting for him in a pack when he went to vote at Bayswater Elementary School around 10:15,  that he went for a run this morning, had a good sleep and was feeling relaxed about the day. “It’s all over but the counting.”

He spent the morning mainstreeting in Yaletown and was feeling positive about that, then was off to make phone calls after voting.

Gregor Robertson walked over from his house to Emily Carr Elementary School (which is almost in his backyard) to vote around 10:45 with wife Amy. Like Peter, he said he had a good night’s sleep and, like Peter, he also talked about the difficulty of the campaign.

“It’s been challenging and frustrating because a lot of attention was attracted away from important issues.” Meaning, of course, the fuss over his unpaid SkyTrain fine, first of all, and then, more seriously, the news of the $100-million loan that councillors approved for the Olympic village builder.

As it turns out, none of that made a difference to voters, as I’ll explain later. Now I’m off to vote myself and talk to more people. Til later.

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