The returning officer for the Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock electorate district is reminding eligible voters to head out and cast their ballot in today’s provincial election.
Kirk Williams noted there are 82 voting locations open June 2 in the riding, including 11 in Haliburton County.
Stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Locations in Dysart include the West Guilford Recreation Centre, Eagle Lake Community Church and the Royal Canadian Legion on Mountain Street. There will also be three stations open in Highlands East: the Robert McCausland Memorial Centre, Lloyd Watson Memorial Community Centre and the Cardiff Community Centre.
Voters in Minden will be able to cast their ballot at the Minden Community Centre and Royal Canadian Legion on Hwy. 35, while Algonquin Highlands will have three voting stations – the Oxtongue Lake Community Centre, Knox United Church and Stanhope Firefighters Community Hall.
“Our electoral district is one of the largest in Ontario, as well it’s the second largest in terms of elector count… So, it was important to us that we provided several locations that made it easy and convenient for [our residents] to vote,” Williams said. Elections Ontario reported May 30 that more than one million people cast their ballot during advance polls.
While he didn’t have any official numbers, Williams intimated that advanced polls at the Minden Curling Club, Dysart Legion, Keith Tallman Memorial Arena and Stanhope Firefighters Community Hall had been popular.
Mail-in ballots were also available for local voters, although the deadline to register for that method passed at 6 p.m. May 27.
There are seven candidates listed on the ballot: incumbent Laurie Scott, representing the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario; NDP Barbara Doyle, Liberal Don McBey; Green Party rep Tom Regina; Libertarian Gene Balfour; Kerstin Kelly of the Ontario Party; and New Blue Ben Prentice.
The 2018 election saw Scott record a comprehensive victory, securing 56.71 per cent of the local vote. A total of 57,143 valid votes were cast in 2018 out of an eligible total of 92,570, putting voter turnout at around 61.7 per cent.
Williams estimated, unofficially, the number of eligible voters in the riding has since climbed to around 100,000.
He encouraged everyone to exercise their democratic right and get out and vote. “As a voter myself, it’s the number one way that I can help influence the outcome of the future of my country… This is the one chance that citizens can directly influence the outcome of the leadership [of our province],” Williams said. “It’s much easier to complain about leadership if you participated in the vote… If I vote and my person wins and things don’t go my way, I can make a stink. If I don’t participate and just complain about what’s going on, then I’m losing my one ability to really do something about it.