November 18, 2014 - 7:28 AM
KAMLOOPS - Voter turnout was up in Kamloops for this year's municipal election — and remains just above the provincial average — but only about a third of eligble voters showed up to cast a ballot.
This month 22,672 of the 68,410 eligible voters cast ballots at the advance polls and on Election Day, for a voter turnout of 33.14 per cent, up from 29.76 per cent in 2011.
In 2008 Kamloops had a 28.42 per cent voter turnout.
Mayor Peter Milobar dominated the mayoral races in 2014 and 2008, while 2011 was a tight race between Milobar and Dieter Dudy. About two dozen candidates fought for the eight council seats in each of the last three elections.
While Kamloops did see an increase in turnout, it was not enough to come out ahead of Prince George in a three-way wager instigated by Kamloops Vote 50 earlier this year. Coordinators said Kamloops could beat both Prince George and Kelowna in voter turnout. Prince George hit 34.36 per cent this year, while Kelowna dropped to just under 30 per cent.
Kamloops Vote 50 campaign coordinators were hoping to see the voter turnout to increase to 50 per cent — but with little competition for the mayor's job — even a small improvement is considered a win.
“Any increase from 29 per cent is a good increase,” coordinator Will George said Saturday night. “We’re happy with the results and to have a more engaged voting population this year.”
The group helped organize more than a dozen candidate events and many more voter engagement stunts. They will now compile a report looking at the work they did and how to continue to improve on voter engagement in the future.
Just under 33 per cent of voters made their voices heard in municipal elections across the province, up from 29.55 per cent in 2011.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014