“Something seems strange,” said Amanda Simard, the incumbent Liberal MPP, during a phone interview.
Simard referred to the advance poll site for voters in Russell Township and also for those in nearby communities like the Village of Limoges in The Nation Municipality, and also the Village of Vars. In the last provincial election and others before then, the advance poll site has always been in Embrun. This year it is in Marionville at the village community centre.
The village is part of Russell Township, but it sits on the borders of the township, North Dundas Township in Dundas County, and the City of Ottawa’s eastern rural area. Simard fears that the distance to drive to Marionville for the advance polls may deter some people from voting this year if they are not able to access the online poll on June 2 voting day. She cited seniors and others who may not have their own vehicle or access to public transit as among those who may not be able to vote this year if they cannot get to the advance poll.
“It’s 20 minutes travel time,” Simard said, regarding the Marionville advance poll location. “That’s a lot, especially with the price of gas.”
Simard said it is “not logical” to have an advance poll in Marionville when Embrun is a more central location for the majority of voters. She has contacted Election Ontario about the issue.
Le Reflet News received a response from Election Ontario to an email query about the situation.
« Voting in Embrun is offered on election day, June 2, at Camille Piché Community Centre at 8 Blais Street, » stated Election Ontario. « With respect to the advance polls, the Returning Officer conducted a geographic assessment of Embrun and contacted Russell Township. The Returning Officer was advised that the Camille Piché Community Centre would be unavailable for advance voting and was offered Centre Communautaire de Marionville, also under Russell Township, for the full 10-day advance voting period. Further, while Chevaliers De Colomb Hall at 5 Forget Street was used as both an advance and polling day location in the 2018 general election, it is now closed. As a result, the location in Marionville was secured as an advance voting location. »
« Elections Ontario kept all 2018 voting locations where possible. Due to issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, Elections Ontario has encountered some challenges securing locations in many communities. Our Returning Officer secured locations that meet the criteria to serve electors in communities across the province, including those established in the Glengarry—Prescott—Russell electoral district. »