The final numbers were still unofficial at press time, but it appears that voter turnout Nov. 19 was up slightly over the last municipal election in 2002.
In 2002 there were 5,641 people on the voters list (including approximately 1,400 second homeowners), and 1,395 people registered for a total of 7,036 potential voters. Some 3,138 votes were cast, representing roughly 45 per cent of eligible voters.
In 2005 there were 5,663 people on the voters list, and 1,448 new people registered for a total of 7,111 potential voters. There were 3,780 votes cast, representing 52 per cent of potential voters, for a rough participation increase of seven per cent over 2002.
The polling stations do not keep demographic information, such as age, sex or income of voters, and it is unknown how much Whistlers total resident population may have changed over the three years.
Spoiled ballots had little effect on the outcome this year with just 36 spoiled ballots in three advance voting opportunities, and at polls in West Vancouver and Whistler on election day.
Tanalee Hesse, the Chief Election Officer for Whistler, said election day was mostly orderly but noted that there were busy periods during the day at the Myrtle Philip Community Centre voting station. In total, 2,960 people voted during the day.
At times the polling station was crowded and there were short lineups in the morning, mid-afternoon and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at night. For future elections, Hesse says the municipality will be looking at larger, and more accessible venues.
"First of all, Whistler has outgrown the room weve traditionally used at Myrtle Philip, it felt a bit small. We will have to look at alternatives for the future," she said.
"And its not just the size of the room thats the issue. We have to look at accessibility, and at issues like parking. We know parking in the village is difficult as well, so well have to look at a lot of things for the next election.
"Well be taking suggestions from the public for the next event as well, to make the voting station as accessible as possible, so its not a huge challenge for people to get there."
Overall, the impression was that the day went fairly smoothly, and while the polling station was busy the process of registering people to vote and handling ballots never caused lineups of more than a few minutes.
The race for mayor
Three-time Councillor Ken Melamed prevailed in the seven-way race for mayor, netting 1,769 of the 3,761 votes cast for the position.
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