Voting at P.E.I. polling station paused due to bomb threat

Voting at polling station in central Prince Edward Island was temporarily suspended Tuesday as police investigated a bomb threat as the provincial election drew to a close.

RCMP Sgt. Leanne Butler confirmed there was bomb threat, saying someone found a note inside the polling station at the Assumption Parish Centre in Stratford.

Police surrounded the large church on the outskirts of Charlottetown.

Elections PEI decided there was a risk to staff and the building was evacuated around 1 p.m. as would-be voters were trying to cast their ballots.

One of the candidates running in the riding, incumbent Progressive Conservative James Aylward, said he learned of the situation while driving by the station, where his wife was waiting to cast her vote.

“I drove into the parking lot of the church hall … and all of a sudden six marked RCMP vehicles screamed in and blocked off the entrances,” he said.

Around 3:30 p.m., Elections PEI issued a statement saying voting would resume at the centre. The agency also confirmed the polls there would remain open 7:30 local time — 30 minutes later than usual.

Elections P.E.I. had originally said the polling station would remain open until 9 p.m., but they agency later changed the timing.

Voter turnout was expected to be strong in Tuesday’s election, with more than 36 per cent of eligible voters having already cast their ballots in advance polls. Voter turnout on the island has traditionally been as high as 80 per cent.

Under rainy, grey skies, Green Leader Peter Bevan-Baker and his wife voted this morning at the Bonshaw community centre in his riding in central P.E.I.

The Greens are hoping to turn strong support in opinion polls into victories and build on the two seats they held prior to the campaign.

The Liberals have governed the Island since 2007, including the last four years under Premier Wade MacLauchlan, who is hoping to continue efforts to bolster the province’s economy.

Dennis King has only been leader of the Progressive Conservatives since February, but says he is focused on adding to the eight seats his party held.

Joe Byrne, who has led the New Democrats for the past year, is looking for his party’s first win in more than 20 years.

The polls close at 7 p.m. local time.