This weeks columns for 24Hrs Vancouver: Time to look at mail-in elections
As voting closed in the transit plebiscite, the numbers surprised many.
In every Metro Vancouver municipality, the turnout surpassed the number of registered voters who cast a ballot in the 2014 municipal elections.
According to numbers from Elections BC — as of May 27 — nearly 45% of registered voters mailed their ballots in.
Some mayors called the turnout a success, and while the turnouts for the plebiscite were much better than the last election, overall the percentage is still low.
While Coquitlam saw an appalling 26% turnout in the 2014 election, nearly 46% of registered voters mailed in ballots for the plebiscite — a sizable increase. And while only 28% of registered North Vancouver city residents voted last year, nearly 47% returned their ballots on this issue. This story was repeated all over the Lower Mainland, with the exception of Surrey.
Surrey had the lowest plebiscite response at approximately 39.5% — a small increase over the 35% that voted in 2014. Vancouver also registered a marginal increase over the election turnout of 44%, coming in at 45.6%.
Looking at the numbers, it’s still a sad commentary on the state of engagement between cities and voters when a rate of 45% is considered a success.
Mayors often say they’re on the ground, connected to the community, yet one wonders how solid that connection is when so few people can be bothered to vote.
But was the contentious tax issue on the ballot behind the increase, or the method of voting itself?
While the mail-in vote was not without objections by some, many people I’ve spoken with found it more convenient than standing in a long line….
Read the rest of this weeks column and vote at http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2015/06/03/time-to-look-at-mail-in-elections