Colin Basran speaks with media at The Curious Cafe after being elected for a second term as mayor of Kelowna on Oct. 20, 2018. (Marissa Tiel/ Kelowna Capital News)

Half of Peachlanders voted in last election

Voter turnout varied in the Central Okanagan

Unless you’re in Peachland, you should now know who your next mayor and council will be. But did you help choose?

According to the numbers released by local governments across the Central Okanagan, voter turnout varied from what looks like barely-aware to very-interested in municipal politics.

In Peachland, voters were the most engaged with 2,348 people casting a ballot. That amounts to 52 per cent of the electorate.

Karen Needham, chief election officer for Kelowna, said 30.4 per cent — 32,132 votes of 105,645 eligible — of the electorate cast a ballot. West Kelowna had 29.13 per cent voter participation, with 7,585 ballots cast of 24,520 eligible voters.

READ MORE: Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

With 2,791 ballots cast of 10,550 eligible voters taking part in the election, Lake Country saw 26.45 per cent of the electorate vote.

Central Okanagan West, one of the electoral areas in the regional district, had a whopping turnout of 6.4 per cent — 502 ballots were cast of a potential 7,807 eligible voters. That’s down from 2014, when the turnout was 7 .5 per cent.

It’s not just Okanaganites who have low voter turnout rates, either.

Just 36 per cent of eligible voters across B.C. cast a ballot in municipal election last weekend.

Bigger cities saw turnouts largely in line with the provincial average, which has hovered around the mid- to low 30s for the past few elections.

Candidate-heavy Vancouver had 39 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, while an upset Surrey election saw 33 per cent of voters head to the polls.

In Victoria, where incumbent Mayor Lisa Helps held onto power, 45 per cent of voters turn out.

Up north, Williams Lake saw 39 per cent of voters come out to re-elect Mayor Walt Cobb.

In Princeton, 56 per cent of the electorate voted.

Cities like Langley, with 24-per-cent turnout, dragged down the provincial average, as did Cranbrook, which saw just 26 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot.

It’s too late to cast a ballot, but it’s the perfect time to catch up on what local politicians are hoping for in the years to come in the pages ahead. For even more election-related coverage go to www.kelownacapnews.com.


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