When I saw the figures for the number of residents that turned up to vote in the municipal elections on Saturday, I had to rub my eyes and take a second glance … 21 PER CENT!!! So out of 2,960 eligible voters, only 630 cast a vote.
That is really quite pathetic and extremely disappointing. (Maybe my annoyance and shock partly stems from the fact that I myself could not vote even though I really wanted to since I am not a Canadian citizen.)
After seeing the figures I did some research and found that this low voter turn out for municipal elections is a common theme throughout the province and that in fact, British Columbia has the lowest voter turnout in the country for civic elections.
It is thought that one of the reasons for this low turnout across the province has to do with a lack of connection between the candidates and the public. However I don’t see this as the case in a town like Vanderhoof when people are a lot more inter-connected by the sheer geographical and demographical fact that we live in such a small community.
The all-candidates forum was a great opportunity for the community to come out and challenge the candidates and get some answers on the things that really matter to you. I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised at the low voter turnout when the numbers at the forum were also disappointing.
Despite the fact that there was no mayoral election, the candidates picked for council do have a big influence on the important decisions that need to be made for the community. I don’t really understand why so many of you didn’t go and vote, but I certainly would be interested to know.
It would also be very interesting to see the difference in numbers in municipal elections if voters could cast their ballot online. Just an idea.