AMHERST – Voter turnout at advance polls in Amherst was much lower than what it was four years ago.
Amherst’s returning officer Kim Jones said 601 votes were cast during two days of advance polling held on Saturday and again Tuesday.
“It’s down quite a bit from last time,” Jones said.
In 2008, when Robert Small was first elected mayor defeating longtime councillor Ed Chitty, there were just over 1,050 votes cast in the advance polls.
Usually, advance polls are held on the Tuesday and Thursday before the municipal election. This year, Jones opted to hold a poll on the Saturday prior to the election thinking it would be more convenient for the voters.
Jones is not sure why voter turnout was lower than normal.
“We’re not really sure why there weren’t as many votes cast. It could be that people are waiting until election day to vote,” she said.
Just over 7,500 residents are eligible to vote on Saturday. Jones said voter turnout varies from election to election. She said elections in which the mayor is elected by acclamation tend to have lower voter participation, while others – such as the election that included the Sunday shopping plebiscite – tend to have higher turnouts.
Votes can be cast on Saturday between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Voters are reminded to bring their voter card to the polling station on Saturday. Those who have lost their card can still vote, but most have identification showing their address . Identification could include a drivers licence or other photo ID or utility bill or bank statement showing the address of the voter.
All residents age 18 and over and living in town three months prior to election day are eligible to vote.