Election numbers

Only two of the present councillors will be back for another term, even though five of the six sought re-election.

At first glance, the results of Summerland’s municipal election on Saturday tell a story of change.

Only two of the present councillors will be back for another term, even though five of the six sought re-election. Mayor Janice Perrino will be back as she was unopposed.

The simplest conclusion is that Summerlanders wanted and got fresh faces on council.

A closer look at the numbers tells a different story.

The votes were close in this election. Only 55 votes separated Lloyd Christopherson, the sixth candidate elected, from Ken Roberge, the seventh-place candidate. If a few Christopherson supporters had not bothered to vote, or if a few more Roberge supporters had been at the polls, the outcome could have been different.

Likewise, Donna Wright fell short of a seat at the council table by just 62 votes. Jim Kyluik and Gordon Clark, the ninth- and 10th-place candidates, were just 151 and 152 votes short of the 1298 votes Christopherson received.

The gap between fifth-place candidate Peter Waterman and Clark, who finished 10th, was just 219 votes.

It was an election where anything could have happened. Any of the 10 candidates could have been elected.

For a race this close, voter turnout was disappointingly low. There are 8,276 eligible voters in Summerland, but only 2,994 or 36.1 per cent bothered to cast their votes.

In 2008, 3,884 people or close to 47 per cent of eligible voters participated. That level of participation is much better, but it still means more than half of all Summerland voters did not participate in choosing the government that affects them most directly.

This time, just over one-third of Summerland voters made the decision of who will govern the community.

A little more voter interest could have resulted in remarkably different results.

 

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