Voters have one more chance to head to the ballot box.
General voting day happens today (Nov. 15), with the results determining which candidates sit at the Nanaimo council table for the next four years.
It’s anybody’s guess how much of the electorate will exercise their right to vote, according to Vancouver Island University political studies professor Alexander Netherton.
The City of Nanaimo has seen a downward trend in elector turnout, with 28 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots in 2011, and 32 per cent in 2008. So far this year, however, numbers are up. Advance polling stations saw 2,262 people cast votes on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, compared to 1,663 over two days in the last election.
This election Netherton is looking for a higher voter turnout total. It’s believed numbers have been low because municipal elections require more decisions than federal or provincial levels, with candidates for mayor, council and school board and can demand a lot of knowledge to make decision, he said, adding people have also gotten into the habit of thinking higher levels of government are more important, even though those governments are downloading more responsibility to the municipal level.
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) November 15, 2014
With a new four-year term, Netherton said stakes are different this year.
“I’m not looking for miracles, but certainly I’d like to see us over that 30-per cent mark, but we are going to have to wait and see,” he said, adding that no one has a crystal ball when it comes to forecasting voter turnout.
The electorate still has a chance to get information about political hopefuls, with an all-candidates meeting happening at Beban Park at 5:30 p.m. today (Nov. 13).–>
Candidate profiles are available at the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s special election website.
There will be eleven polling stations set up across Nanaimo open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, including: Chase River Elementary School, Departure Bay Activity Centre, City of Nanaimo Service and Resource Centre, Frank J. Ney Elementary School, Georgia Avenue Community School, McGirr Elementary School, Nanaimo Alliance Church, Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, Oliver Woods Community Centre, Wellington Community Hall, and Protection Island Fire Hall.
Voters in the District of Lantzville have one station at Costin Hall. During advance voting this month, a total 294 ballots were cast, which is up 20 per cent from two days in 2011.