Municipal elections: double take

Last week, in my absence, Brendan Kyle Jure wrote the editorial in my stead. I’d like to take this opportunity to further address the local election results.

One thing which has been seen, at least locally, in successive elections is the re-election of incumbents. In 2014, the 100 Mile House mayor and council, post-voting, was made up entirely of incumbents.

This year, both the mayor and the two incumbent councillors running for re-election made it back in. Looking at neighbouring communities in Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George, Clinton and Clearwater didn’t see a single incumbent running lose their seat. The only exception was Cache Creek, which saw a near reversal with the incumbent mayor and two incumbent councillors losing out. In the South Cariboo, the only exception was Willow MacDonald defeating incumbent Brian Coakley for Area L director (the other two nearby areas were by acclamation).

However, for those looking for a change, the election wasn’t a complete bust. Obviously there are two new councillors, but despite an increase in voter turnout from 38.41 per cent in 2014 to 44.76 per cent with 31 more voters this year, re-elected incumbent councillors Ralph Fossum and David Mingo saw their votes drop by 96 and 44 respectively and their percentages by 19 and 11 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, new-to-council Maureen Pinkney arguably received the strongest “mandate” with 436 votes (71.3 per cent), the most of all candidates. Runners-up Nicole Weir and Wally Bramsleven missed the boat by fewer than 25 votes.

Mingo especially was still comfortably re-elected, but the results do indicate that more voters are looking for a change than before.

Secondly, some might well be happy that the council is a little bit more diverse this time around, with both a female councillor and a First Nations councillor at the table.

Overall, the election outcome is likely to have something for everyone: with a majority of council returning, there will be continuity, but with two new faces and slightly weakened support for returning councillors, it’s an election that likely has at least something for most voters.

It also served as a good reminder for how much every vote matters: not only was the last council seat determined by less than 25 votes, the mayor in Clinton was decided by a single vote.

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