Record voter turnout in Skidegate elects new council

  • Feb. 4, 2008 7:00 p.m.

Skidegate residents re-elected chief councillor Willard Wilson to a fourth term in office Friday (Feb. 1) and a group of mostly new faces to the seven seats on council. “We’ve got a whole new slate of councillors,” Mr. Wilson said. “Young people – they’ll be full of energy, wanting to press forward, which is good, healthy, for any organization.” Friday’s election saw a record voter turnout in Skidegate, with 531 people casting ballots. About 160 of those were mail-in ballots, said electoral officer Fred Schiffner. “I think there was more of an effort this year to allow people to vote by mail,” Mr. Schiffner said. Mr. Wilson agreed, adding that the large number of voters indicates the high level of interest in local politics in Skidegate. Some of the mailed-in ballots came from Skidegate band council members who live in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Vancouver, he said. The election was originally scheduled for Jan. 30, but was delayed for two days after bad weather stopped Mr. Schiffner’s flight from landing in Sandspit. He attempted to fly up on Jan. 29, the day before the election, but the plane was turned back to Vancouver. The next day, he and his colleague again boarded the plane, which was diverted to Terrace because of heavy snow on the islands, before flying back to Vancouver. He finally arrived on Jan. 31. Aside from the two-day delay, the election ran smoothly, he said. “Skidegate is really a great community,” he said. “The election was very clean. We had a lot of scrutineers… There was no objection to any decision made by me or my colleague.” Some of those decisions have to do with declaring a ballot “spoiled” – which can happen if the voter has scrawled a message on it, for example, or marked more than one box. This election was unusual for the extremely low number of spoiled ballots, Mr. Schiffner said. One ballot was rejected in the election for chief councillor, and four were rejected for councillors. The newly-elected council members will hold their offices for the next two years. Full election results:For chief councillor:. Willard Wilson – 193. James McGuire – 156. Wayne Wilson – 134. Shelley Gladstone – 42 For councillor:. Remi Levesque – 359. Robert Williams – 273. Tanu Lusignan – 269. Rose Russ – 254. James Cowpar – 250. Godfrey Williams Jr. – 167. Edward Russ – 164. Robert Mills – 163. David Crosby – 148. Richard Russ – 140. Russell Gladstone – 132. Val Jones – 119. Earl Moody – 118. Tracy Richardson – 98. Paul Pearson – 89. William Bellis – 82. Gary Russ – 80. Kathy Pearson – 68. Robert Young – 49. Mitchell Richardson – 33. Toni-Lynne Pearson – 27