ROTHENBURGER – When it comes to turnouts in civic elections, size matters

BIG DAY TODAY — the day we get to pick our new mayors and councils.

When I say ‘we,’ I mean those of us who actually do vote. We are a mere one-third of those who are eligible.

The 30 per cent turnout for civic elections is a poser. It’s way less than half the normal turnout for federal elections, yet municipal councils are closest to home.

We’ve been scratching our heads for decades trying to figure it out. We think that if we can find ways to make voting easier, more people will do it. So we can now vote by mail — and indications are more people are doing it that way this time.

But that probably only means that a certain number of people who would have voted anyway are putting their ballots in a mailbox instead of in a ballot box at a polling station.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9504 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on ROTHENBURGER – When it comes to turnouts in civic elections, size matters

  1. It’s “the morning after the night before”; “the people have spoken”. Only about 30% of the eligible voters cast a ballot in this year’s municipal election.
    I’ve already read that the Mayor-elect captured the “anger” vote and that is the main reason why Mr. Hamer-Jackson is to be our new Mayor. No mention of him providing that somewhat mystical element of hope.

    Did the political aspirations of three sitting councillors vying for Mayor split the vote and also cause the demise of the runner up? One only has to look at the numbers and realize that it became simple math, not necessarily anger, that shaped the outcome for the Mayor’s chair.

    Will it be tough for some to address the new Mayor as “Your Worship”? I’m thinking so.

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