Would drive-thru voting help turnout in Vancouver’s elections?

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Low voter turnout in civic elections is a chronic problem in most major cities, and the solution could be on two or four wheels: A drive-thru voting booth.

For their current civic election, the City of Calgary operated an advance polling station drive-thru style at McMahon Stadium, available to any voters select days and times ahead of their October 16 election day.

It’s pretty basic: A voter pulls up in their car or on their bicycle, and a staffer directs them into one of four lanes. Once their ID is checked and voting status confirmed, the voter get a packet with voting materials. It’s up to the voter if they want to get out of the car to put it in the box or have the elections worker to the depositing.

Sorry, you can’t order a side of fries or a double-double coffee with your civic duty.

The drive-up option was so overwhelmingly popular organizers and voters may have been feeling like the first-time endeavour had backfired.

With long line-ups of idling cars, some voters showing up to the “drive-thru” polling station opted to park and walk in to cast their ballots instead.

Election officials in Calgary have already tweaked the process–namely adding more workers, but they’re finding that overall their advance polling turnout is up from previous elections.

More turnout is definitely something that Vancouver could use in its civic elections…but would a drive-thru polling station fly here?

Give that a thought as you study up on the council candidates on the ballot this October 14.

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Lindsay is a Senior Writer at Vancouver Is Awesome. A fifth generation Vancouverite, she was previously the Food Editor of Daily Hive and Senior Editor of Vancity Buzz. Lindsay grew up in Vancouver and Toronto, then spent over 20 years in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her Masters in English, attended culinary school, and was an English professor. Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancouverisawesome.com