Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Decline of municipal voters

Decline in votes since regular use of vote tabulating machines leaves too many unanswered questions

Decline of municipal voters

Statistics say that Penticton voters no longer care who runs their city.

In 1990 there were 16,657 eligible electors. 48.83 per cent voted. In 1993 42.93 per cent of 17,600 voters voted. No percentage was available for 1996.

Limited stats for 1999, the first year vote tabulating machines were used in Penticton, show 17,819 eligible voters. The 9,019 votes for the mayor indicate that approximately 49.39 per cent of electors chose to vote the first year of automated counting.

After the established use of vote counting machines elector votes fell sharply never to rise to the above percentages again.

2008: 33.6 per cent of eligible electors voted.

2011: 33.5 per cent of eligible electors voted.

2014: despite record number of 1,456 new registrants at the polls only 31.4 per cent of electors voted.

Before the vote tabulating machines were in regular use in Penticton and during its first use just under 43 to 49 per cent of electors chose to exercise their right to vote. Voter interest in particular election issues could account for the percentage swing. Stats would indicate that there has been no voter interest on any local issues for the past three elections.

In the 2013 provincial election 52.74 per cent of electors in Penticton chose to vote (2017 stats are not yet available). Why the difference between provincial elections and municipal elections? Why the steep decline in electors choosing to vote between up to and including 1999 the first year of the vote tabulating machines and later elections? What accounts for the steep decline in electors choosing not to vote?

These stats in my opinion are revealing.

Provincial elections have manual controls and many regulations ensuring accurate counting of votes.

Prior to the use of vote counting machines in Penticton votes were counted by hand by many people and this in itself ensured accurate counts.

In the 2014 local election during the advance polling the vote tabulating machine broke down. Those votes had to be run through the vote tabulating machine again by staff. There is no security of the ballet box. That combined with the decline in votes since the regular use of vote tabulating machines leaves too many unanswered questions.

The most important duty of any elected government is to ensure that voters are comfortable that the election system is accurate and their wishes are respected. That is not happening in Penticton and in my opinion has not happened for the past three civic elections.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

Just Posted

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Share a Smile Telethon hits the mark

The 38th annual OSNS Child and Youth Development Centre telethon in the books

Counsellor sees need for treatment centre regulations

An addictions counsellor sees need for regulations

Biosphere designation boosts national park drive

Certification outlines conservation as key part of sustainable tourism development

Visiting Vees pound West Kelowna Warriors

The Vees got hat tricks from two players en route to an 11-3 win

Drones used in search for clues about missing women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Choral Extravaganza brings valley choirs together

Sunday concert features six choirs singing together

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Boomer radio expands

Kelowna resident Allen Holender continues to expand his network

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Most Read