TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
BU student Isaac Aghahon looks over a bulletin board filled with posters encouraging students to vote in the municipal election.
It would take a full-scale blizzard, bringing Brandon to a standstill, to close today's municipal elections polls, the city's senior elections official says.
The season's first snowstorm, which was forecast to hit Brandon late Tuesday night, was expected to dump 10 to 15 centimetres of sticky snow on the city and bring with it strong northwesterly winds.
But Ewasiuk says that's likely not enough to stymie the scheduled municipal election.
"It would only be if it becomes unreasonable to try and move the voting stations to another place ... it would have to be sort of a major shutdown of the city for us to postpone the election," she said.
Polling stations are strategically placed around the city so that no voter has to travel more than a handful of blocks to vote, Ewasiuk noted.
But even though it may only take a few minutes to bundle up and make your way down to your polling station, it is possible that the wind and white stuff could negatively affect voter turn out, she admitted.
Attendance at the city's two advance polls last week was up a few hundred people from the last election in 2006, leading Ewasiuk to suggest that overall voter turnout could hit 50 per cent this time around.
"There's a possibility if the weather is nasty, people will decide not to go out and vote, but we certainly encourage everybody to brave the elements and come out and mark their ballot," she said.
Several candidates are prepared for Mother Nature's misery, however, by committing to provide transportation for those who would like to, but can't get themselves to a polling station.
Mayoral candidate Shari Decter Hirst says her campaign team been planning all along to provide free rides to the polls.
"This is going to be a really close race and every vote is going to count," she said. "We've got four-wheel drives if we need them and anybody who wants to vote, we'll make sure they get a chance to cast their ballot."
Dave Burgess says he also has a number of volunteer drivers on standby.
"(The weather) doesn't help, that's for sure ... but we've got loads of volunteers to give people rides if they need them, myself included," he said.
Green Acres incumbent Don Jessiman says he provided rides to about a dozen voters in the 2006 municipal election and is glad to provide the same service for whoever wants it this time around.
"Anybody in Green Acres, whether they support me or not, I'll be picking them up," he said. "But I don't worry about a storm affecting the number of people that come out and vote, I just do the best I can."
And Riverview ward candidate Len Isleifson says he's also willing to help residents get out and engage in the democratic process -- whether or not they mark their 'X' for him.
"I have a bunch of people who will be sitting around waiting and people can call," he said.
"I'll put my four-wheel drive on and go around and see what we can do. The big thing is to get people out to vote."
Polls are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. Voters, whether registered or not, are required to bring identification.
A full list of polling locations is available at brandonsun.com
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 27, 2010 A1