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History of low voter turnout as Summerland preps for election

Fewer than half cast ballots for mayor and council in 2018
In past years, voter turnout for municipal elections has often been below 50 per cent. The next election for Summerland’s mayor and council is Oct. 15. (Summerland Review file photo)

Around 10,300 Summerland residents will be able to cast their ballots in the upcoming local government elections, but if past turnouts are any indication, many will not vote.

In the last municipal election in October 2018, more than half of those eligible to vote did not do so.

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There were 4,099 ballots cast, but 4,891 of those who could have voted did not do so. This works out to a voter turnout of 45.6 per cent, said Kendra Kinsley, chief electoral officer and corporate officer for Summerland. In the 2018 election, there were two candidates for mayor and nine for six councillor positions.

Summerland’s voter turnout was considerably higher than the British Columbia turnout of 35.6 per cent, she added.

Some past elections have had higher voter turnouts.

In the 2014 election, 4,446 voters, or 51 per cent of those eligible, cast their ballots. There were five mayoral candidates and 16 councillor candidates on the ballot that year.

In 2008, the voter turnout was 47 per cent and in 2005, it was 60.6 per cent.

The 2011 municipal election had a significantly lower voter turnout, with 2,994 ballots cast. This represented 36.1 per cent of the 8,276 eligible voters that year. In the 2011 election, Janice Perrino retained her seat as mayor by acclamation. There were 10 candidates for the six councillor seats.

The number of candidates for the 2022 local government elections has not yet been finalized. The deadline for filing nomination papers is Friday, Sept. 9. Election day is Saturday, Oct. 15.

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John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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