More than 1,300 people cast ballots in Owen Sound’s municipal election during the first three days of the city’s 10-day voting period.
City clerk Briana Bloomfield said about 16,000 people are eligible to vote in Owen Sound, which means voter turnout on opening weekend was about eight per cent.
“It’s a new voting method for this election, so we don’t have any statistics to base our expectations on. But, of course, as a clerk I’m always hoping that number is higher,” she said in an interview Monday.
The voting period began in Owen Sound at 10 a.m. Friday and will continue until 8 p.m. on election day, Oct. 22.
For the first time, Owen Sound electors can only vote either online or by telephone.
To help people with the new voting methods, Owen Sound is holding “help centres” throughout the voting period.
People can check to see if they’re on the voter’s list, have their name added to the list, obtain a voter notification letter or cast a ballot online at the help centres.
On weekdays during the voting period, the help centres are set up at temporary city hall inside of the Professional Centre.
Several off-site help centres are also planned.
The first two were held this past weekend at the Royal Canadian Legion on Saturday and the Julie McArthur Regional Recreation Centre on Sunday.
Bloomfield described attendance on the weekend events as steady, but said there were no long lineups of people waiting for assistance.
The help centres at city hall are open this week until Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
There will also be help centres Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Heritage Place Mall and Oct. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre.
On election day, people can visit city hall for assistance from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. A help centre will also be set up at the Lumley-Bayshore from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
There are two tablets available at each of the help centres, Bloomfield said, that people can use to cast their ballots.
The city has extended the hours for its election helpline as well. Voters can call 519-376-4440 ext. 2018 from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays until Oct. 22 for voting assistance.
Just under 8,400 people cast ballots in the 2014 municipal election, which amounted to a 52 per cent voter turnout. The turnout was even lower in 2010 at 49.3 per cent.
There are three people on the ballot in Owen Sound for mayor – Ian Boddy, Ray Botten and Nancy Lee Rosamond. However, Rosamond has notified city hall that she would not be able to hold office.
There’s a two-person race for deputy mayor between incumbent Coun. Brian O’Leary and Paul Patille.
Fourteen people are seeking seven councillor seats. They are Travis Dodd, Jacquie Furtner, Scott Greig, Brock Hamley, Steve Hencze, Marion Koepke, Peter Lemon, Gail McCartney, Carol Merton, Denae Moores, John Tamming, Richard Thomas, Bill Twaddle and Riel Warrilow.