The line up to cast ballots stretched out of the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre doors and on to the sidewalk one hour after polls opened at 8 a.m. on Nov. 15.
Despite the long lines, preliminary results show a smaller turnout than the 2011 election, with only 8,424 votes cast out of a possible 26,806 voters, or only 31.4 per cent. In 2011, Penticton saw a 33.5 per cent turnout, with 8586 out of 25,632 possible voters participating.
Advance polls, which saw more than double the number of votes cast than 2011, turned out not to be indicative of a greater interest in this election.
Speculation about the long lines ranged from Penticton only having one polling station to larger numbers of people registering to vote at the polls and slowing the process. Long lines, including many people still waiting to vote after the doors closed caused Penticton’s results to be delayed as well, with the results not being read out until 9:40 p.m.
Many families brought their children along including Penticton resident Jacki Klever, who was impressed by the commitment of community members in this election.
“I appreciated how many people got involved in the election campaign. It just shows how important it is to be involved in the municipal level of government. As a reflection of that, it made me really want to get involved,” Klever said.
She said getting votes from different demographics was an important part of this vote.
“We’re a family with younger kids, so to me it was important to the future of our city to make sure that families have a future here,” Klever said.
Lynn McNair has been in Penticton for a year and a half since moving from Calgary. She said she was impressed by the variety of choices on the ballot and cast votes for both young and old.
Why did McNair come out to vote? The answer was pretty simple.
“I figure if you don’t vote you can’t complain,” McNair said.
Linnette Gratton was campaigning on her social media account earlier in the month hoping to get as many friends and family members as she could to come out on election day.
“I just wanted to make sure I had a voice in my community,” Gratton said. “We wanted to make sure that young voters, especially young families, are heard in our community.”
It was 19-year-old Jordan Farmer’s first time voting, and he said the process was relatively painless. Farmer also took to social media to bring out as many voters as possible.
“I wanted to have a voice in what’s being done. I encouraged lots of my friends to come out. It’s good to have people voting,” Farmer said.