CTV WINDSOR: Advance polls offer drive-thru voting

Travis Fortnum – CTV News Windsor Multi-Skilled Journalist

Windsor residents can begin casting their votes in the upcoming municipal election this week, with advance polls opening up Wednesday.

The first of eight early voting opportunities opens at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 at the Capri Pizzeria Recreation Complex, closing at 8 p.m.

When the weekend rolls around, voters can head to Mic Mac Park on the city’s west side to cast an early vote without even having to leave their vehicle.

Terri Knight Lapain, manager of records and elections for the City of Windsor, says drive-thru voting is back by popular demand, after being used in the 2020 Ward 7 by-election.

“The original thought was it would just be something that people could stay in their vehicle if they were comfortable with that, maybe we do 100 ballots through the drive-thru, but it actually was wildly successful,” says Knight Lapain.

In the end, she says almost 50 per cent of votes cast in the by-election were done so via drive -thru.

In that election, the option was offered at the WFCU centre — and it will return there next weekend, though it will look a little different.

Then, and this weekend at Mic Mac Park, Knight Lapain says lines might look long from the entry way, but cars will diverge into four separate lanes.

Cars will pull into tents and ballots will be handed out, concealed in a security sleeve for you to mark.

Multiple voters can even carpool — and Knight Lapain says there will be options for cyclists and pedestrians on site.

“We do encourage people to take transit even to the drive-thru voting,” she says.

“Walk, cycle, bike, scooter, whatever you want to do.”

Drivers will be greeted by staff in orange vests who will offer direction – and Knight Lapain says voters taking alternate forms of transit an approach those employees to be directed to the polling station, thus not be made to wait amongst cars.

“We’re ready for it, we’re excited about it,” says Knight Lapain.

Will drive thru voting boost turnout?

“In the automotive capital of Canada, I don’t think it should surprise anyone that we have drive-thru voting,” says Jon Liedtke, co-host of the Rose City Politics podcast.

“It’s just so Windsor.”

Voter turnout, just one topic touched upon by the hosts of Rose City Politics on their weekly show.

For Windsor’s 2018 municipal election, 35.21 per cent of eligible voters came out to vote — that figure, even lower than turnout to this summer’s historically low provincial election, which saw 43.53 per cent.

“It’s another tool, right?” adds Don Merrifield Jr. one of the shows other co-hosts.

“We’ve kind of made some jokes about it but it is another way to get people to vote. And I think that’s important in municipal elections. Make it as easy as possible and hopefully we’ll get more turnout.”

A full list of advance voting locations and times can be found online.

This article first appeared on CTV Windsor


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