Long drive to cast ballot

Some Princeton residents directed to Tulameen to vote

 

You know it’s going to be an interesting election when people are angry before the votes are even counted.

An unspecified number of voters from Princeton were directed Monday to Tulameen in order to cast their ballots.

Barb Roccamatis, 66, called the experience “pathetic.”

Roccamatis describes herself as “a religious voter” who has never missed her chance to exercise the franchise. And she’s always voted in the community where she lives.

“I have lived here for 45 years and I’ve always voted at the Legion, or wherever downtown…we live behind the airport in city limits.”

After standing in line, and using a walker to negotiate a path into the Princeton Legion Monday morning, she was told she had to drive more than 26 kilometers to Tulameen.

The journey would take her and her husband along Coalmont Road, a steep and narrow incline. According to Google Maps the one-way drive from Princeton to Tulameen takes 31 minutes.

“I hate that road and it’s not like it’s a hop, skip and a jump,” she said.

Roccamatis said she made the journey with some misgivings, but was determined to mark her X.

“I vote every election. I know one year I was so sick but I still voted.”

She wants someone held accountable for an election day gone sideways. “I want to know what group of people sat down and said ‘all the people who live behind the airport have to go Tulameen’…did they get a map or go through the phone book and pick and choose?”

Returning Officer for the newly-drawn riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen-Nicola, Basil

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Skodyn, was unavailable to comment. A media spokesperson for Elections Canada did not return calls to The Spotlight Monday.

Several people from Princeton reported experiences similar to Roccamatis’ on social media Monday and there were problems in other areas of the region. Some voters in Keremeos, for example, were required to drive to Hedley.

Roccamatis admits she and her husband didn’t carefully read their voters’ registration cards, which had been stuck on the fridge for weeks. The cards said that polling for her address was located in Tulameen while advanced polls were held at the Princeton Legion.

“What about people who can’t get to Tulameen. They don’t get to vote, is that right?”