Editorial: Embarrassing voter turnout in Kelowna West

The byelection Wednesday showed just how bad voter turnout can be

It wasn’t shocking on Wednesday night when B.C. Liberal Ben Stewart was elected in Kelowna West, the riding that everyone loves to say has been a stronghold for the Liberals and the Socreds since the beginning of time.

But with only 29 per cent of eligible voters showing up to cast a ballot, is it really a stronghold, or is the Liberal party just better at getting people out to vote?

It’s a shocking number, but voter apathy was in full swing Wednesday, and in West Kelowna and parts of downtown Kelowna, the turnout to vote in an important byelection was pathetic.

There are over 46,000 voters in Kelowna West, a riding that encompasses West Kelowna, but also parts of downtown Kelowna.

But only 13,624 voters showed up at the polls to cast a ballot, more than half of them for the B.C. Liberals.

More than 30,000 residents did not vote in the byelection and while the 30 per cent turnout figure is something that we have seen in the past, it is still incredible, in this day and age, that the majority of people are deciding not to vote.

Over the past several years there have been movements to increase the number of voters taking part. Youth-led groups have pushed to get young people engaged in the process. Access to information has never been better. Voting is free, it feels good and it’s what makes a free country exactly that, free and open to all ideas.

We’re giving full credit to the five candidates who put their names forward, spent time to try to get elected and gave those in the riding a great number of solid and varying options. Kudos to Ben, Shelley, Robert, Mark and Kyle, for you did your job.

And well done to the 29 per cent that did see fit to do their civic duty.

For the 71 per cent of you in Kelowna West who have your heads in the sand, your hands on the remote or just decided that it didn’t matter, it’s time to give your head a shake and get rid of the complacency.

It was a truly pathetic turnout and you should be embarrassed.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

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