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Canada

Municipal elections marked by long lines, heavy advance polling

People leave Smiling Creek Elementary school in Coquitlam after voting on Saturday. Jason Payne / PNG

At least three polling stations in Vancouver stayed open after the 8 p.m. deadline to vote in Saturday’s municipal election to accommodate voters who were still in line as the hour past.

“All those in line as of 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote,” the City of Vancouver’s Twitter account reported as the clock ticked down.

As of 8 p.m., lineups remained at the Vancouver Public Library central branch, Sunset and Roundhouse community centres, according to the city.

Official turnout results were not available by deadline, but election day was marked by long lines and heavy traffic at polling stations around the region, pointing to potentially higher turnouts than 2014.

Voters at polling stations around Vancouver reported waiting up to an hour to cast ballots. In Burnaby, voters complained of long waits at the Gilmore polling station, prompting the city to send an additional voting machine.

The City of North Vancouver, which is one of more than half of Metro Vancouver’s municipalities selecting a new mayor, reported voter numbers “way up this election,” through its official Twitter account.

The anticipation of a high turnout was stoked by a surge of advance voting in locations around the province. In Vancouver, more than 48,000 citizens cast ballots in the advance polls, a 27-per-cent increase over 2014.

depenner@postmedia.com

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