Shop for your candidates: You can vote at the mall!

6 Oct

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Yesterday being the first day of advance voting in the city, I thought I’d head over to the Promenade to see if there was a rush at the polls. After strolling the mall for a few leisurely minutes, I came to the gutted-out store that currently serves as an advance polling station for the municipal election. Right there, sandwiched between  Costa Blanca and Jacob, was a place where you can exercise your democratic and civic duty without taking your eyes off the next purchase for too long. Voting in malls is a new measure brought in as part of the city’s effort to increase voter turnout.

But lo! There were few people coming and going. Perhaps this isn’t shocking. It was, after all, 10am on a Monday morning…. at the mall. Fine. Perhaps not the most popular time to shop.

Nevertheless, I decided to take a brief survey outside to see how much people knew about advance voting week.

“I don’t believe in government,” one young woman on her way to work told me when asked if she would vote. She proceeded to tell me about the misdeeds of the federal government. When I informed her that this was instead a vote for the people responsible for taking her garbage away, she squinted for a moment and then almost sneered, “For Vaughan? — the city above Toronto?” and then walked off. I guess that re-branding campaign hasn’t quite taken hold yet.

Next I asked a mom maneuvering a stroller out the front entrance whether she would be voting.

“I know they started today. I do plan to vote, but I’ve just finished filling out my paperwork to get on the voters list,” she said. I guess no one told her that she could sort that out at the polling station. Still, it’s a committment to vote. Score one for democracy!

Another stroller mom told me “I guess I’ll vote,” when I asked her.

Down at the food court, a tall gentleman and a short lady told me separately they weren’t from Vaughan.

In all, I didn’t manage to find a person at the mall who did vote yesterday. I did find one who at least knew she could vote at the mall. That counts for something. I’ll have to check back when it’s busier to see if this mall business is panning out.

-JF

(Ed. note: for more info about where you can advance vote –it’s at Vaughan Mills and some community centres, too — check VaughanVotes.ca or visit our previous post.)

(Ed. note #2: The city clerk tweeted today that over 500 people took advantage of advance voting in Vaughan on Day 1.)

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