NEWS
11/19/2011 05:58 EST | Updated 01/19/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. Polls Open For Municipal Seats

British Columbians are voting today to fill more than 1,600 positions for mayor, councillor, school trustee and regional directors.

Turnout is traditionally low in the B.C. municipal elections held every three years, but Vancouver incumbent and mayoral candidate Gregor Robertson hopes that will change tonight.

"I'm excited about today, really excited. Two of my kids are voting for the first time in a civic election," he told reporters after casting his ballot at Emily Carr School.

"Vision Vancouver’s worked really hard to get out a younger vote this year. We're hoping for a great turnout. We’re hoping for a lot of support at the polls and a great result today."

Robertson's challenger, Suzanne Anton of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA), has served as a councillor and park board commissioner.

"It's an entirely new experience. I’m the leader of our NPA team," said Anton on Saturday. "It's been such a great team to work with, very positive, very supportive of me, very supportive of our campaign. It's just been a great experience."

Anton voted in an advance poll on Wednesday and was handing out refreshments to her party’s volunteers on voting day.

Experts say voter apathy is highest at the municipal level, while federal elections draw the largest turnout.

In Vancouver, turnout was 32 per cent in 2005 and then sank to the lowest in history in 2008, with just 31 per cent of voters bothering to cast a ballot.

Starting at 8 p.m., CBC News Online will be live-blogging the results and CBC Radio One begins its coverage.

CBC Television will have a special election show starting at 10:30 p.m. after the hockey game.