Down and out

Voter turnout in Kootenay West riding was low, as was response to the polls across the province.

By Sheri Regnier – Trail Daily Times

No matter how you spin it, only half of B.C.’s eligible voters turned up at the polls to help decide who governs the province for the next four years.

Across B.C., 3.15 million people were eligible to vote, but only 1.62 million voters cast a ballot. That means a 51.4 per cent voter turnout, down from  52 per cent in the 2009 election, resulted in a majority Liberal government.

The turnout in the Kootenay West riding was slightly better at 53 per cent, meaning 16,837 ballots were cast from 31,290 eligible voters.

“The turnout was similar to the last election, but less than we thought,” said Don Vinish, Kootenay West district electoral officer.

He said that with the increase in advertising, he thought there would be more interest.

“You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing it, and yet it didn’t result in more people voting,” he said. “Which is really sad.”

Staff at the BC Elections office in East Trail began sorting through mountains of post election papers and booklets on Wednesday.

“People across the world will literally die to vote, and yet people here are so apathetic that they don’t even come out,” said Vinish.

Katrine Conroy, NDP candidate,  received 10,606 votes or 62.99 per cent of the popular vote. B.C. Liberal Party candidate Jim Postnikoff was second with 3,592 votes, or 21.33 per cent of the support.

In third place, was independent Joseph Hughes, with 2,239 or 13.3 per cent of the popular vote followed by another independent, Glen Byle, with 400 votes and 2.38 per cent of the support.

Hughes told the Arrow Lakes News when he did get an opportunity to meet his constituency, he was surprised by the apathy.

“It’s unfortunate. People say ‘I don’t vote, I want the world to change but I don’t vote.

“(Apathy) didn’t bother me before, but now it does.”

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