EDITORIAL: Penticton chooses convenience as priority over voting

Despite months of chatter on and off social media about the need for change in Penticton, voters didn't show up to the poll.

The Rolling Stones said it best back in 1969. You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

During the run up to this election, there was a significant portion of Penticton’s population, vocal and otherwise, saying it was time for a change.

And we got change: four new faces at council, younger overall and led by a 43-year-old mayor.

That’s change. For some, it wasn’t the change they wanted, with this or that favoured candidate not making it into the top six, and that their plan of voting for just one person instead of choosing the six best, didn’t work.

There are already calls for recounts and threats of lawsuits, but the real story is a simple, age-old one: not enough people voted for your candidate. It happens. As a matter of fact, not enough people got out to vote, period — despite months of chatter on and off social media about the need for change and to vote out the old councillors and replace them with new ones.

Now Facebook is abuzz with complaints that the lineups were too long to wait in and there should have been more than one polling station, even though more than 7,000 seemed to believe their vote was more important than their convenience. And there are even conspiracy theories that the election was tampered with by city staff rigging the election to make sure their favourites made it into office.

Perhaps changes need to be made to the voting process, but the truth is, the state of democracy in Penticton is in sad shape, with less people voting this year than the abysmally low turnout of 2011. Comparing with our northern neighbour Summerland, where 50.1 per cent turned out to vote, makes Penticton look even more pathetic.

Still, to again quote those wise philosophers, the Stones, sometimes you get what you need. Penticton’s upcoming council is a good mix of youth and experience, successful business people and community leaders.

We hope they live up to their promise.