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Editorial: Never does your vote count more

Municipal elections decided by a small number of voters
Your vote can make a big difference during municipal elections. (File photo)

Never does your vote count more than in municipal elections.

In our Canadian democracy, fortunately, everybody’s vote always counts, but in larger provincial and federal elections the power of your individual vote can be diluted by the number of voters.

In municipal elections, however, the voter turnout is usually relatively small — a fraction of the population. And when there are a large number of candidates, as there are in the Municipality of North Cowichan (15) and for the Cowichan Valley School District (18) votes spread out between the candidates can mean that a small number of votes can make a big difference.

In municipal politics, a small number of voters can have a big influence, particularly if there is a coordinated voter block. The more people that vote, the more the will of the wider community will be reflected in the results.

We get it, it can be difficult to make time in your schedule.

Barring unusual circumstances, voting in the Cowichan Valley is quick and easy. Very seldom will you find a long line you have to wait in — the norm is to be able to go to your polling place and be out within minutes.

But when there are a large number of candidates it can seem like a hassle to try to sift through them to find out who to vote for. To make it a little easier for you, we have on our website an election section, with candidate profiles and other election news to help you. You should also check out our voter’s guide in the Oct. 13 edition.

Further, you don’t have to vote for more candidates than you are sure about. For school board you can vote for a maximum of seven, a maximum of six for Duncan and North Cowichan councils, and a maximum of four for Lake Cowichan council. Electoral area voters will vote for one candidate to be their area director. But there is no minimum. Live in Lake Cowichan and only want to vote for mayor and two councillors? Have at it.

These elections aren’t glamorous. Candidates debates are held in local halls rather than in the glare of TV lights. Topics of importance include things like water and sewer, roads and firehalls. Bureaucratic minutia of official community plans are in the spotlight as much as homelessness and the opioid crisis.

But they nevertheless impact the daily lives of residents arguably more than most policies set by senior government. Garbage pickup? That’s your local government. New apartment building planned next door? Municipal council.

This is your chance to really make a difference in your day to day life.