Several explanations for declining voter turnout

  • Nov. 19, 2008 6:00 a.m.

Just under 1,200 islanders voted in Saturday’s municipal election, somewhat lower than the 1,400 who voted in 2005. The lower turnout may reflect a population decline, or it may reflect the fact that in the two largest municipalities, Masset and Queen Charlotte, the mayors were acclaimed, leaving voters with only a choice of councillors. The number of voters in Masset dropped dramatically, with only 245 casting a ballot, compared to 416 in the last municipal election. Masset estimated its voter turnout at 42 percent. In Port Clements, the only village with an election for mayor, voter turnout was estimated at 70 percent, the highest on the islands. But fewer people in Port voted this year than three years ago, with 216 ballots cast this year compared to 226 in 2005. Queen Charlotte’s turnout was estimated at 52 percent and that village had the highest actual number of voters, with 327 votes cast. In Area D, or rural Graham Island, many more people voted this year: 288 compared to 215 in the previous election. However, the regional district estimates voter turnout at just 14 percent, with 2,081 people in Area D eligible to vote.Lengthy election coverage in the Observer, on sale from Thursday on.

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