Voter turnout high for Whistler 

Mail ballots a success, but more work

Voter turnout high for Whistler

Close to 55 per cent of eligible Whistler voters cast ballots in this election, according to municipal chief elections officer Lonny Miller. That's almost 15 per cent higher than initially reported by Civic Info B.C. based on the preliminary results.

"The number of ballots and voters recorded... was just Saturday's results," said Miller. "It did not include the voters on the two advance polls and the mail-in ballots."

The total, 3,952 votes, is equivalent to a 54.8 per cent based on a voter roll of 7,206.

That's the highest voter turnout in Sea to Sky, and far higher than the provincial average of 29.51 per cent.

In 2008, the voter turnout was 2,903 and in 2005 some 3,138 voters headed to the polls.

Mail-in ballots a success, but more work

For the first time in municipal history, Whistler allowed residents and non-resident property owners to vote by mail-in ballots. The total number of mail-ins accounted for roughly 10 per cent of votes cast, with 397 mail-in ballots processed on election night. Some 410 were received, but 13 were discarded or disqualified for various reasons including improperly filled out ballots, and the fact that the voter was not qualified under provincial law. Another 14 packages were requested but were not picked up.

There was some additional work required to process the ballots, which delayed the reporting of results on Saturday night.

"Our bylaw states that we can't process envelopes or ballots until after the close of voting on general election day, which was Saturday at eight o'clock," said Miller. "It was an hour and a half processing the mail ballots and getting them ready to tally in the machines."

Many of the mail-in ballots were hand-delivered or couriered to the municipality, including packages from as far away as California and Hawaii. Some residents in the Lower Mainland brought in ballots from other non-resident property owners as well.

"We got in excess of 100 packages on Saturday at the conference centre," said Miller.


Spoiled ballots may have played a role

For the most part there were clear winners in the municipal election, with the exception of candidate Steve Anderson. Anderson finished seventh on the ballot for council with 1,037 votes, four fewer than John Grills.

There were exactly 100 spoiled ballots this time around, including the 13 mail-in ballots, 21 spoiled at advance voting polls and 66 spoiled on election day.


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