More than half of polling stations were short of ballots in 2017 election, says city auditor

More than half of polling stations were short of ballots in 2017 election, says city auditor

More than half of all polling stations across the city experienced ballot shortages during the 2017 municipal election — one of three key failures identified in a city auditor’s report into Calgary’s problem-plagued October vote.

The report comes nine months after the chaotic Oct. 16 election night that left many Calgarians waiting for hours to cast their vote as polling stations in nearly every ward ran out of ballots.

The findings, released Friday, suggest 57 per cent of regular voting stations were short of councillor ballots and 47 per cent required additional school trustee ballots.

Some stations waited for more than six hours for elections workers to deliver a resupply of ballots, with some stations requiring multiple deliveries.

The auditor’s report also debunked one of the most common explanations given by city staff for Calgary’s election day woes in the days that followed the vote: that record voter turnout was to blame for the delays.

In reality, voter turnout in 2017 was only the third highest in the past 20 years, according to the report, and less than in 2010, when a smaller number of ballot shortages were experienced and there were no issues with resupply.

The report instead appeared to place the blame squarely on failures in planning.

“It shouldn’t have been a surprise that there was more interest in this particular election,” said Coun. Druh Farrell. “It was a highly contested race in a number of different wards, there was a very high profile election for mayor — all of those generate greater turnout. So it was disappointing to see such long lineups and the city so ill prepared.

“I think there were a lot of lessons learned from it.”

The auditor also identified significant problems with accessibility and parking at voting stations, as well substandard staffing levels that may have contributed to the delays.

Full article: Calgary Herald