When it comes to getting the vote out, smaller towns do better - InfoNews

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When it comes to getting the vote out, smaller towns do better

A voting place sign is seen in Vernon for the municipal election, Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018.
October 22, 2018 - 4:38 PM

There’s a wide range of reasons for people to get out and vote – from whether there’s a hot contest for the mayor’s chair or a pricy referendum.

But one factor is clear: “Small communities usually do much better in voter turnout,” Todd Pugh, executive director of CivicInfo B.C. said. That’s born out by this year’s results, as presented by CivicInfo B.C.

Of nine cities with more than 40 per cent voter turnout, only Penticton at 41.1 per cent had more than an estimated 9,000 eligible voters.

Topping the list of voter engagement was Cache Creek with 488 of its estimated 808 eligible voters turning out to vote – an impressive 60.4 per cent. That saw Mayor John Ranta defeated by Santo Talarico after 28 years in office – obviously a big issue in that community.

Penticton, with an estimated 26,500 eligible voters, also had a hotly contested mayoralty race that saw incumbent Andrew Jakubeit ousted by Coun. John Vassilaki. Their turnout was only 41.1 per cent.

Second on the list of highest voter turnout was in Oliver where 56.5 per cent of 3,743 estimated eligible voters turned out to oust Mayor Ron Hovanes and elect Martin Johansen as their new mayor.

And Peachland, always the top producer of voters in the Central Okanagan, drew 51.5 per cent of an estimated 4,555 voters to oust Mayor Cindy Fortin, who lost by one vote to Harry Gough. A recount is expected.

Still, there were mayoralty races in the other larger cities, but the voter turnout was nowhere as high as most smaller towns. Kelowna, West Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops all had voter turnouts ranging from 31 per cent to 33 per cent.

Lake Country, the only other city with more than 10,000 eligible voters, did not have their turnout stats listed on CivicinfoBC because it’s on a ward system. Still, chief election officer Willene Perez estimated Lake Country had 10,550 voters with only 26.5 per cent turning out to vote, despite a $6.6 million referendum for a new fire hall. The referendum passed.

As in Lake Country, the percentage of voters casting ballots is always an estimate.

“We start with the census,” Pugh said. “Then we do adjustments with the estimated number of people who do not meet the residency requirements or are not 18 years of age or older.”

Voters have to be Canadian citizens, live in B.C. for six months and in the municipality where they live for 30 days prior to the election.

Since the last census was in 2016, the estimates are two years out of date, although municipalities can ask for adjustments based on changes in population or can use the provincial voters’ list for a more accurate estimate of eligible voters.

Here is an alphabetical list of voter turnout in the Okanagan and Kamloops areas:

OKANAGAN
Armstrong  22.4%
Coldstream  32.5%
Enderby  34.8%
Kelowna  32.8%
Keremeos  46.2%
Lake Country  26.5%
Lumby  32.3%
Oliver  56.5%
Osoyoos  38.7%
Peachland  51.5
Penticton  41.1%
Spallumcheen  24.6%
Summerland  45.6%
Vernon  31.9%
West Kelowna 31.0%

KAMLOOPS and area
Barrier   48.4%
Cache Creek  60.4%
Clearwater  48.5%
Kamloops  30.6%
Logan Lake  42.0%%


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