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A record 3.6 million Canadians crammed into polling booths for advance voting from Oct. 9-12, marking a 71 per cent increase on voter turnout compared to 2011.

An estimated 1.2 million people showed up to vote on Monday alone, joined by a further 767,000 people on Sunday and more than 1.6 million voters on Oct. 9 and 10, according to Elections Canada statistics.

This number includes a recorded 70,231 electors registered and voted at temporary Elections Canada offices set up at select campuses, Friendship Centres, and community centres, according to the agency’s statistics.

These temporary offices formed part of an Elections Canada pilot project to help make voting more accessible to electors during this year’s federal election, as well as helping people to register in time and receive more information about the process. Any Elections Canada offices are open to all voters, no matter where in Canada they may reside.

"Elections Canada's goal is to ensure that every Canadian who wishes to cast a ballot has an opportunity to do so," said chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand. "I am pleased that our pilot project was so successful and that over 70,000 electors took the opportunity to vote early on select campuses and at select Friendship Centres and YMCAs."

However, Elections Canada has faced Canada-wide complaints of long line-ups at polling stations and irregularities such as mistakes on voter information cards, or people being directed to ‘phantom’ voting stations.

CBC also reported that Elections Canada had to resend 5,600 voter cards after one such mix-up in the Toronto-St. Paul’s riding.

According to an emailed letter sent out by the Council of Canadians, another 436 voters in Calgary had received voter information cards from Elections Canada directing them to the wrong polling station, also warning that electors in the Yukon, B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, P.E.I., and Nova Scotia had experienced the same problem.

Nationwide push to get out the vote

Such mishaps have not stopped celebrities and organizations across Canada from pushing to get out the vote ahead of Oct. 19, driven in large part by a desire for change after nearly 10 years of Stephen Harper.

“It’s so important that everyone vote[s] in the upcoming election. Harper threatens poor Canadians, arts funding, refuses to look into the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and seems to have a deep allegiance to the oil industry (among a million other things). I know a lot of you don’t believe in democracy or voting, but so much of what we hold dear as Canadians is under threat,” said electronic star Grimes – a.k.a Claire Boucher – in a post on her Tumblr page.

Grimes (picture from Facebook page).

On Oct. 9, poet Shane Koyczan published his video poem The Cut on YouTube, slamming Harper’s record on everything from the environment to civil rights, once again urging Canadians to cast a ballot on Oct. 19.

"I hope to remind people that their vote is their voice, but we can't hear you if you don't use it,” Koyczan told National Observer over Thanksgiving.

On Oct. 2, VoteParty.ca launched a new nationwide drive on Oct. 2 to boost the number of young voters at the polls, featuring a celebrity montage video of Canadian heavyweights such as Rick Mercer, pop group MAGIC!, Ashley Callingbull, Heartland actor Michelle Morgan, and Elena Juatco from ABC’s Open Heart, all rolled together into a short film that is currently being broadcast before movies at 160 Cineplex theatres across Canada.

Those voters wishing to kick out the Conservatives may well find their reward on the night of Oct. 19 at the ‘Stephen Harper Going Away Party’, a Facebook event that has now garnered 300,613 attendees as of 11:35 pm EDT on Oct. 13, a greater number of followers than on the Prime Minister’s own Facebook page that currently has less than 240,000 ‘likes’.

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