This Saturday Castlegarians will have their final chance to vote in the current by-election to select a new city councillor, but it’s hard to say how many will actually turn up to vote.
Voter turnout for Castlegar by-elections has decreased steadily since 2001, when the voter turnout was only 26.5 per cent to begin with. Turnout dropped to 18.5 per cent in 2008 and to 16 per cent in 2013, when Florio Vassilakakis won with just 408 votes. Turnout for general municipal elections hasn’t been much better, though that at least has been on the rise, up to 39.74 per cent in 2014 from 30.60 in 2011.
So far though, it looks like this by-election could buck the trend as 674 electors showed up to the polls for advance voting, topping the 216 advance voters who turned out during the 2013 by-election, and walloping the 92 advance voters in the 2008 by-election and the 81 advance voters in the 2001 by-election.
But 674 is still only 11.6 per cent of the 5812 listed electors. So choose the candidate who you think best represents your values — whoever that may be — and go vote.
To be eligible to vote as a resident elector, you must be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older, have been a resident of BC for at least six months and have been a resident of Castlegar for at least 30 days.
To vote as a non-resident property elector, you must be a Canadian citizen 18 years of age or older, have been a resident of BC for at least six months and have been a registered owner of real property within the City of Castlegar for at least 30 days.
Those not registered on the voting list come election day can still vote, so long as they provide at least two pieces of ID that prove identity and place of residence, one of which must contain their signature. Acceptable forms of identification include a BC driver’s license, BC ID card, BC care card, BC gold care card, social insurance card, certificate of vehicle insurance (ICBC), Canadian citizenship card, credit card, debit card, property tax notice, utility bill or form SDES8 from the Ministry of Social Development.
Voting will take place Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Castlegar Community Complex between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. There will also be two special voting opportunities on the same day for residents, patients and staff of Castlegar’s two care facilities. Qualified individuals can vote at Talarico Place between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and at Castleview Care Centre between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
For more information on voting in the by-election, visit castlegar.ca/byelection2016.php.