Voter irked by no advance poll in Rainy River

For residents in the west end of the district who can’t vote on Oct. 2, you’ll have to hitch a ride to Fort Frances today, tomorrow, or Friday, or assign someone to vote for you by proxy, if you want your voice to be heard in this election.
Otherwise, you’re plain out of luck.
That was the word out of the Elections Ontario office in Kenora yesterday after concerns were raised by a Rainy River resident concerning the lack of an advance poll in that community this time around.
“I think they screwed up,” said Verna Beyak. “It’s like taking away the right to vote.”
There are just five advance polls in the Kenora-Rainy River riding this time around as opposed to eight in the last provincial election in 1999. Besides Fort Frances, the others are located in Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, and Red Lake.
Beyak will be in Winnipeg on Oct. 2 for medical attention and since the nearest advance poll is in Fort Frances, she fears she’ll be unable to vote because of the distance involved.
“I can’t see why we have to go all the way to Fort Frances to vote,” she complained.
District Returning Officer Murray Affleck said yesterday the number of advance polls—and their locations—are reviewed after each election to determine whether numbers warrant them.
“The assigning of advance polls falls on my shoulders,” Affleck said from his office in Kenora. “Due to the lack of numbers [in that area], it was determined there would be no advance poll there [in Rainy River] this time.”
Affleck said there’s nothing that can be done at this late stage of the campaign, but he did not rule out revisiting the issue for the next election.
“It’s too late this time, but maybe next time,” he said. “We gather information after each event and review it.”
Affleck suggested voters who require transportation to an advance poll either make arrangements with family and friends, or consider using a proxy vote.
The advance poll, located at 517 Mowat Ave. in Fort Frances, is open Wednesday through Friday (Sept. 24-26) from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.