More people voted in North Cowichan in the municipal elections on Oct. 15 than in the previous six elections. (Image courtesy ElectionsBC)

More people voted in North Cowichan in the municipal elections on Oct. 15 than in the previous six elections. (Image courtesy ElectionsBC)

North Cowichan saw more ballots cast than in the 6 previous municipal elections

But with growing population, percentage of voters was about the same for most

The number of voters in North Cowichan that cast ballots in the municipal elections on Oct. 15, which was 8,545 representing 32.04 per cent of the population, was the highest the district has seen in the six elections held since 2002.

But in a report to council, North Cowichan’s chief elections officer Michelle Martineau said that although voter numbers have increased over the years, that increase has been consistent with North Cowichan’s population growth, resulting in voter turnout remaining relatively the same as a percentage of the population.

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“For example, in the election in 2014, the total number of electors who voted was 7,076 and increased to 7,898 in 2018, yet the voter turnout for both of those elections was 33.2 per cent because the estimated number of eligible electors and voter turnout both increased by approximately 10 per cent,” she said.

Martineau’s report also lists a number of complaints that were received by the municipality during the election, as well as offences that were recorded.

A number of the complaints were issued related to campaign signs.

They included the use of elements of North Cowichan’s logo in newspaper advertisements and campaign signs, as well as allegations of offensive language used on some of the signs.

The other issues raised around the signs included their use during the pre-campaign period, signs attached to trees and signs creating a safety hazard for motorists at intersections.

Former Mayor Al Siebring’s endorsement for mayor of Rosalie Sawrie, the former councillor who lost the mayoral race to Rob Douglas, also drew complaints as it was felt that it could have been interpreted as an endorsement of Sawrie by council.

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Another complaint stated that the postcards sent out that advertised that North Cowichan electors should vote “yes” on the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s referendum on funding for regional recreation were unethical.

One of the offences recorded during the election was teenagers running through the hallways at the voting station at École Mount Prevost shouting at electors in line to vote for a particular mayoral candidate.

Other offences include a scrutineer who did not stay in their designated space and spoke to voters; residents or strata representatives unreasonably restricting council candidates’ access to their property for campaign purposes; and there were numerous campaign signs within 100 metres of a voting place.

Asked how the number and types of complaints made and offences recorded compared to previous elections in North Cowichan, Martineau said she wasn’t the chief election officer prior to this election so she can’t answer that question with any kind of certainty.

“My goal in tracking them this year was so that we could take some steps before the next election to address some of those issues,” she said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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Election 2022