THUNDER BAY – Voting is under way in Ontario.
Those in Thunder Bay have plenty of options to cast a ballot, up to and including Election Day on June 2. Special ballot voting started earlier this month and on Thursday advanced polls opened across the province, including in Thunder Bay-Atikokan and Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Julio Gomes, the returning officer for the Thunder Bay-Superior North Electoral District, was greeted by a steady stream of early voters as polls opened at the Thunder Bay 55+ Centre, where advanced voting will take place through May 28.
“(Advanced voting) will be over a 10-day period, but each location will have its own dates. What you should do is check the voter information card you should have received. It’ll have the locations for the advanced polls,” Gomes said.
“There will be advanced voting for seven days at the returning offices and at the satellite offices in the smaller communities, if they have them. That starts on Saturday.”
It’s a great chance to get voting out of the way before the rush of Election Day, or for those who might be able to make it to their assigned polling station on June 2.
“Unfortunately with the situation with COVID, you don’t have to worry about that,” Gomes said. “We’ve got the 10-day period where you can come and vote. My suggestion is to come later in the day. You don’t have to be the first one at the door at 10 a.m. when we open.
“Anytime in the afternoon is usually slower. Around suppertime, between 5 and 7, we find it gets busier. So if you want to avoid the crowds, come in the middle of the day. You don’t have to wait until June 2 to cast your ballot if you’ve already made up your mind and decided which candidate you want to support.”
Those who would rather vote by mail can apply for a mail-in ballot up to May 27, and special ballot voting is still available at the returning offices in each riding.
Regardless of when they cast a ballot, voters should bring their voter registration card to the polling station, along with a piece of government-issued identification, though it does not need to be photo identification and can be displayed on a mobile device.
Those who are not on the electors’ list can still receive a ballot, but must show a piece of identification showing both their name and current residential address. Voters can vote at any polling station during advanced voting, but must vote at their assigned location on Election Day.
Most advanced polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., but check the Elections Ontario site for confirmation.
Advanced polling locations in the Thunder Bay area:
Thunder Bay-Superior North Returning Office
County Fair Plaza
1020 Dawson Road
May 5-June 1
Thunder Bay-Atikokan Returning Office
Agnew H. Johnston School
145 Churchill Drive W.
Thunder Bay 55 Plus Centre
700 River Street
May 19-May 28
Current River Community Centre
450 Dewe Avenue
434 Fort William Road
May 19-May 23
Kakabeka Legion Branch No. 225
4556 Highway 11/17
May 25-May 28
North McIntyre Recreation Centre
2051 Government Road
May 21-May 28
Ramada by Wyndham Airlane Hotel
698 Arthur Street W.
May 19-May 28
Slovak Legion Branch No. 129
801 Atlantic Avenue
May 19-May 22