Turnout 'respectable' for 2012 election

Justin Crann
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Voter turnout was "respectable" according to city returning officer Myron Gulka-Tiechko.

The election is over and the numbers have come in, but the job is far from finished for the people who tabulate the votes.

“We won’t know the vote count until we get all of the computerized reports from each of the polling stations,” said Myron Gulka-Tiechko, the city’s returning officer.

The vote, which was done electronically, went “relatively smoothly,” he said.

“I think when the system was first introduced, people were concerned about the confidentiality of the ballot,” said Gulka-Tiechko.

But after a glitch-free 2009 election return, “we certainly have confidence in the system,” he added.

The AccuVote system, which is used in most of the bigger cities across the province, was the subject of some criticism during this election because of the way it returned ballots that didn’t have a full slate of candidates marked.

“Some people accidentally miss voting for a certain category, or undervoted for either public school board or the (city) council,” said Gulka-Tiechko, “it’s a safety double-check for the voter. The deputy returning officer, when the ballot is held up by the machine, clarifies with the voter if it was their intention not to vote... if it’s confirmed that that is the case, then the ballot is fed in.”

“People didn’t vote for a full slate of candidates and that’s certainly their right,” he said, “If, however, they intended to vote for the full slate of candidates, that gives them the opportunity to take the ballot back... because they can’t get a second ballot. You can’t vote twice.”

Though an official announcement of election results and voter participation won’t be made until Friday, Gulka-Tiechko was able to provide some estimations.

“We’re looking at somewhere in the area of 10,000 voters out of an eligible, approximately, 26,500,” Gulka-Tiechko added, “so it’s a respectable turnout.”

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