The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen will be trying to combat low voter turnout in next month's local elections with a “roving poll” pilot project.
The polls will travel to parts of the district that cannot support a full 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. polling station. In Area “F” (West Bench/Faulder) one of the roving stations will spend at least three hours at Giants Head Elementary servicing the northern half of the area.
RDOS manager of legislative services Christy Malden says in 2014, the full polling station at Giants Head Elementary saw just three people vote all day.
This year, however, there are hopes that turnout will be higher with longtime director Michael Brydon stepping down and six people — with two from the Summerland area — seeking the seat.
“Because we are a rural government, we want to try to get out to the residents in the rural areas, but we can’t afford to set up a full 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. poll,” Malden said, explaining a full poll costs $4-5,000.
She added they looked at finding a location in Faulder, but could not find one that could accommodate their roving station. A roving poll will also be visiting the Red Wing subdivision just north of Penticton.
On general voting day, Area “F” residents can place their ballots at West Bench Elementary from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Times for when the roving polls will be in Summerland and Red Wing will be announced in the coming weeks.
The RDOS also had plans to deploy roving polls to replace polling stations in Tulameen and Coalmont in Area “H” but nobody is challenging incumbent Bob Coyne, so he’s been acclaimed.