Voter turnout down in this election

The voter turnout was estimated to be about 17 per cent, down from previous election

No mayoral race in the municipal election may be the reason why voter turnout was so low.

According to information gathered, there are 11,000 eligible voters in Sylvan Lake. If this information is accurate, the voter turn out this year was only 17 per cent.

There were only 1,888 ballots cast during the municipal election on Oct. 16, down nearly 1,000 votes from the previous election.

“We were down a lot this time around. Even compared to 2013, which I wouldn’t say was particularly high,” said Joanne Gaudet, communications officer with the Town of Sylvan Lake.

Gaudet estimates around 30 per cent of the eligible population voted in the 2013 election.

The steep drop in turnout could be connected to the lack of a mayoral race. No one chose to run against incumbent mayor, Sean McIntyre, who was acclaimed for his second term.

Looking at past election results, the trend tends to be a higher voter turnout during an election with a mayoral race.

“I think it is the symbolic nature of the position. The mayor is a leader of the community, and people tend to respond to that during an election,” offered Gaudet, adding a mayoral race tends to bring more energy to an election.

While this election’s turnout was lower than some expected, Gaudet says Sylvan Lake’s turnout is pretty comparable to other communities.

The Town worked to make voting as accessible as possible for the 2017 election.

There were two advanced polls as well as two mobile polling stations, something new for the town.

However, even the advance polls were down this year compared to 2013’s election.

“I know people are busy, but we did try to make it as accessible as possible. Especially for the seniors who couldn’t make it across town to vote,” said Gaudet in reference to the mobile polling stations that were made available this election.



megan.roth@sylvanlakenews.com

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