Kelowna advance polls not living up to provincial expectations

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KELOWNA - Moving the municipal election date from November to October was done, in part, to increase voter turnout.

But based on the results from yesterday's advance polls in Kelowna, that has yet to happen.

“It was down from 2014,” Kelowna city clerk Stephen Fleming said. “We’ll see what the final result ends up being after Oct. 20.”

A total of 966 people voted at two polling stations on Wednesday, Oct. 10: 253 at City Hall and 713 at Parkinson Recreation Centre. That’s down from the first advance polls in 2014 when 1,536 voted.

Part of the decreased number may be due to the fact that there are four advance polling stations scheduled for Saturday, which has not been done in the past.

“People might just have decided to wait until Saturday,” Fleming said.

In May of 2010 a Local Elections Task Force made 31 recommendations to the provincial government, including the municipal election date change. The recommendation was sent to the Union of B.C. Municipalities, who agreed to the change in the fall of 2010.

“The rationale for the change in date was to improve voter turnout,” Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing media relations officer Lindsay Byers wrote in an email. “The taskforce cited reasons such as better weather for voting day more likely in October, increased accessibility of voting for some people who travel during the winter, providing longer daylight hours and easier travelling conditions.”

The change in date took so long to implement, Byers wrote, because doing it for 2014 would have shortened that three-year term to two years, 11 months.

The switch from three to four years was made in 2014 but by that time candidates knew this first term was really just three years and 11 months.


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