Advance voting numbers for the provincial election were approximately 50 per cent higher this year than in the previous election in 2011.
According to Elections Saskatchewan, a record-24,602 people cast their ballots Tuesday — the first day of advance voting — at one of 173 locations across the province. Just over 16,000 people cast their ballots on the first day of advance voting in 2011.
Chief electoral officer Michael Boda said they expected some people would be anxious to cast their ballot and show up to vote the minute the doors opened on the first day. Tim Kydd, a spokesman for Elections Saskatchewan, said a high number of advance voters were expected because this is the first election that Saskatchewan residents can vote at advance polls without a reason.
Boda said some advance voting places had lineups, primarily in urban constituencies. Roughly 50 additional election workers were deployed across the province Tuesday to battle long wait times at advance polling stations.
Eleven teams of two to three workers were sent to crowded polls in Saskatoon with additional ballot boxes, while seven went to Regina and one apiece went to polls in Moose Jaw, Lloydminster, Estevan, Yorkton, Carrot River Valley and Cut Knife-Turtleford.
Kydd said the extra workers will continue be stationed at the polls throughout the week and other trained workers could be deployed if waits at polls continue to be unreasonably long.
Advance polls are open through Saturday and the general election will be held Monday. The advance polls opened Tuesday at 3 p.m. and will be available from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m until Friday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Voters must go to their assigned advance polling station, which is indicated on their voter registration card or can be found on the Elections Saskatchewan website.
The busiest times of day at the advance polls Tuesday were between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Elections Saskatchewan is encouraging people with flexible schedules to vote later in the evening to avoid line ups.