Voting machines sped up the process

Preliminary results were posted two hours after the polls closed

The use of the new automatic voting machines for the first time in a Cranbrook election made a profound difference in the tabulation of results.

The polls closed at 8 p.m. at Laurie Middle School, and final (preliminary) results were posted around 10 p.m. This included the ballots from Saturday’s election day itself, mail-in and special ballots, and the approximately 2,000 ballots from the advance polls.

The results of these categories were posted as they were tabulated, making for a dramatic two hours for those assembled in the Laurie School gym — election workers, media, and several of the candidates.

“I think it went well,” said Brian Wooff, Chief Electoral Officer for the City of Cranbrook, of election day and the use of the machines and the new type of paper ballots.

“We were really busy for about six hours straight, but the workers worked hard and we got through it. There were some line ups in the middle of the day, but we cleared them out pretty quick.”

Twenty-five workers took care of voters throughout the day, with another half dozen who came in to provide relief for meal breaks and such.

And by all accounts, the new machines and ballots went over quite well.

“I really like it,” Wooff said of the new process. “The people seemed to like the ballots, no one complained about the ballots themselves.

“And the fact that there’s no having to rely on eyes, after being awake for 16 hours, is a good thing.”

Preliminary results from the City of Cranbrook indicate that voter turnout was about 39 per cent, up from 33 per cent in the previous election in 2011.