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Sooke council gets eye opener from official election results

Mayor pushes Municipal Monday to make local government more accessible
Sooke’s new council includes Mayor Maja Tait and councillors, from left, Al Beddows, Jeff Bateman, Dana Lajeunesse and Tony St-Pierre. Missing: Kevin Pearson and Megan McMath. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke council received the official results of the 2022 municipal election on Monday evening and was confronted with some sobering statistics.

A total of 3,358 ballots were cast in this year’s election, representing a voter turnout of just 28.94 per cent based on 11,601 registered voters. The turnout for the 2018 election was 41.8 per cent, with 4,078 of 9,761 eligible voters casting their ballots.

“Our voter turnout fell from 42 per cent to 28 per cent, and in some ways, I feel apathy was our friend, so while that does seem a bit negative, it shows we have some work to do,” Mayor Maja Tait said.

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To showcase local government in action, Tait plans to create Municipal Monday. Plans include all scheduled council and committee meetings on Mondays, coffee chats with the mayor, open houses, town halls, and more.

She challenged council to come up with other ideas, too.

In a report to council, chief election officer Sarah Temple confirmed Mayor Tait was elected for a third term ahead of her primary challenger Mick Rhodes.

Five incumbents were also returned to council: Dana Lajeunesse, Jeff Bateman, Megan McMath, Al Beddows and Tony St-Pierre. Kevin Pearson, a former councillor, was the only new councillor elected.

Temple reported that 29 people were permitted to seek a second ballot due to spoiled ballots on election night, caused by the automated vote-counting machines.

“Detection and prevention of spoiled ballots is an important benefit of automated vote-counting machines,” Temple said.

‘The most common reason for a spoiled ballot is inadvertently voting for too many candidates in a single office (over-voting).”

Election results must be submitted within 30 days of the official declaration of the results under the Local Government Act.

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
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