Election data shows Ashton barely won Penticton

Elections BC has just released its breakdown of the 2013 provincial election, and it contains a number of interesting, well, numbers.

Like the number showing voter turnout was 57.1 per cent, up from a record low of 55.1 per cent set in the 2013 election.

The Penticton riding did a little better than that, with 58.3 per cent turning out to vote, while Boundary-Similkameen was best with 61.9 per cent.

Both, however, are still far down from the record turnout for a provincial election of 77 per cent, set in 1983, or even the median turnout of 68 to 69 per cent through most of the province’s voting history.

MLA Dan Ashton said the low voter turnout is a cause for concern.

“I don’t think it’s right. If you have that right (to vote) then you should use that right,” said Ashton, though he doesn’t think mandatory voting should be legislated.

What each of those votes cost is still a mystery, however; that figure has not been finalized. But in 2005, each vote cost the province $8.05, rising to $11.77 in 2013. The low, by the way, was set in 1949, when each vote only cost 43 cents.

Liberal Linda Larson was elected in Boundary Similkameen with a solid 46.6 per cent of the vote, and former Penticton mayor Ashton with 45.9 per cent in the Penticton riding.

But breaking out the larger communities shows that Penticton was the weakest community for Ashton. In Peachland and Summerland, Ashton drew about double the votes of his nearest challenger, NDP candidate Dick Cannings. In Penticton, though, Ashton had less than a 500-vote lead on Cannings.

Advance polls were also in Cannings’ favour, showing him leading Ashton by a 48-vote margin.

Ashton said negative issues like the hockey dorm controversy from his time as Penticton mayor may have drawn down his vote in Penticton.


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