Vancouver Island voter turnout truly appalling

Vancouver Island voter turnout truly appalling

There’s no excuse for people being oblivious to elections

It shouldn’t be this way, but one of the things that stood out the most about the election Saturday was the voter turnout.

Only 33.7 per cent of eligible voters in the Municipality of North Cowichan bothered to cast a ballot.

Courtenay numbers were up from the 31 per cent who voted in 2014, but not nearly enough. Only 7,372 of the 19,869 eligible voters took the time to cast a ballot Saturday – a paltry 37 per cent.

Cumberland, proved to be one of the most engaged community on the Island, with a 48 per cent voter turnout.

Still nothing to celebrate. Seriously? What is wrong, people?

There’s simply no excuse anymore for not knowing about the election, as some people claim. Publicity comes from a variety of sources – the newspaper, social media, television, radio, lawn signs and even word of mouth.

Surely, one of those possibilities would have struck a chord with the general populace, if not the fact there are so many issues that seriously affect our everyday lives, it’s imperative to make choices for whatever personal reason might prove the most important.

This is not an old folks thing. Are you listening young people? You may lead busy lives, but decisions made in municipal politics have a significant impact on that busy life so it’s a good idea to stay informed.

“The apathy is deplorable,” said Peter Rusland, a candidate for councillor in North Cowichan.

It didn’t matter to those men and women running whether they were elected or not, they just want to see people exercise their right to vote, show more interest in their community and have input into our future direction.

Advance poll numbers were strong again, but that didn’t translate into an equally large rush on voting day. Across the province, the voter turnout averaged less than 40 per cent.

It really is appalling.

And when you look at the North Cowichan mayor’s race, a decision came down to a difference of 10 votes. So for those who didn’t vote because they think the outcomes are a foregone conclusion, think again.

“After (Saturday) night, nobody can tell me their vote doesn’t matter,” said North Cowichan Mayor elect Al Siebring, who won over incumbent Jon Lefebure by that slim margin.

And about two-thirds of the population isn’t even entitled to whine about their council’s decisions because they didn’t take an active role in shaping that council.