Voters expected closer race in new riding

Polling stations busy with 75 per cent turnout in Delta, but nail-biter that many anticipated didn't materialize

Delta voters turned out at the polls in large numbers Monday expecting a close race that never materialized.

The Optimist talked to dozens of voters at polling stations in North Delta and South Delta, the vast majority of whom thought the outcome in the reconfigured riding of Delta would come down to the wire. In the end, Liberal Carla Qualtrough was more than 9,000 votes clear of Conservative incumbent Kerry-Lynne Findlay.

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Voter turnout was 75 per cent, although that number doesn't include voters that registered on election day so the actual turnout will be slightly lower.

Most of the voters who were willing to talk to the Optimist outside Gibson Elementary in North Delta said they thought the race would be much closer than previous elections.

Ron and Cheryl Miller said they'd be voting for the same party they voted for in the last election and didn't see any reason to change. They said they didn't see the Conservatives dominating in South Delta as previous years and that it was uncertain what would happen in their community.

With his voting card in hand, Taylor Mah said this year's federal election seemed certainly more contentious. He said now that North Delta and South Delta are together he was hopeful things would change.

"I think it might be a bit better representation now that all of Delta is together, instead of Delta and parts of Surrey or Richmond," he said.

Saying this year's election was probably the most interesting and riveting in a long time, Sonny Walia also said he got the sense this year's race in Delta would be close.

At Tsawwassen's Pebble Hill Elementary voting station, several who arrived but didn't want their names published agreed this year's race seemed more contentious. One voter remarked they would be sticking with the Conservatives but that it might be a much closer race for Findlay this time around.

Several said they got the sense there would be a change in South Delta, where voters usually supported the Conservatives by a wide margin.

Rick Campbell said he got the feeling from his circle that things could be changing in South Delta as well as North Delta.

At what was a busy Holly Elementary voting station in East Ladner, it was more of the same with people saying it was a much more riveting election, both nationally and locally, and that it looked like it might be a close one in Delta.

When asked if she thought things could change, one voter said boldly, "Oh yes!" Lori McLean, meanwhile, said the large number of people who went out to vote at the advance polls was a good indicator there was a lot of interest.

McLean added North Delta would make things interesting.

Sandra Kirk, who recently moved to Ladner, said it seemed like a contentious race both locally and nationally.

"I just know that it's intense and a lot of people are wanting to get out there and vote. I really hope people will go out and vote and I really do believe we are lucky in this country that we're able to vote," she said.

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