With voter turnout in Invermere and Canal Flats at 32 and 44 per cent respectively, clearly there’s not a lot of cause for concern in the valley when it comes to local government. But is it due to confidence in the way things are being run, or simply apathy?
An analysis of the voting and non-voting demographics would be interesting, to find out if certain age categories acted differently than others, and/or genders.
Of the 2,375 eligible voters in the District of Invermere, just 760 voted. These votes ensured that four experienced councillors are joining Mayor Taft at the table.
With Invermere councillor candidate Kayja Becker being in her early 20s, it seems reasonable to think anyone under 30 would have supported her bid to secure better representation of an already under-represented demographic that plays an essential role in maintaining and growing the local economy.
But how many in this age range cared enough to walk/drive to a polling station, in advance or the day of?
Young voters aside, with the mayoral seat already decided by acclamation and just five candidates to choose from for four seats, how many shrugged their shoulders (“who cares”), deciding to let others decide for them?
But while our society in general tends to rate anything less than 50 per cent as a fail, the 32 per cent turnout in Invermere is almost on par with the turnout around the province — up to (unofficially) 33.3 per cent — which is being touted as a huge success in the Globe and Mail since it’s a significant leap from the 29.5 per cent turnout in 2011 and the 28.9 per cent in 2008.
In a nutshell, the 44 per cent turnout in Canal Flats is a downright cause for celebration. And the 50.2 per cent in the last Invermere council election? A complete phenomenon. It clearly takes a race for mayor to draw out the valley’s voting crowds in bigger numbers. Something to keep in mind four years from now. In the meantime, if you hear anyone complain about local government over the next four years, ask them if they voted.