Rossland Wins Community Voters' Challenge

Rossland Telegraph
By Rossland Telegraph
April 4th, 2016

Before the 2015 federal election, local communities entered into an agreement to try to improve voter participation, and called it the “Community Voters’ Challenge.”   Whichever community  most improved its percentage of eligible voters who actually voted in the election would be declared the winner.

Rossland won the challenge by improving its percentage of participation by  12.7%.  Voting improved from 69% to 81% of eligible voters. 

Even by improving our percentage of participation the  most, Rossland did not have the highest percentage of voters — that honour goes to Slocan, with 84% voter participation.   Congratulations, Slocan, for your engaged citizens!   Rossland voters still have ample room for improvement in the engagement and participation departments.

Rossland faced stiff competition for “most improved” from Nakusp, whose citizens improved their voter turnout by 12.2%.  

We also congratulate Kaslo, which had the fourth highest voter turnout  in the region but came last in the “improvement” area — only because they had a good level of participation already.   Here are the figures by percentage of increase in turnout:

              City of Rossland … 12.7% increase in voter turnout

                Nakusp …                                            12.2%

                New Denver …                                   11.6%

                Castlegar & Areas I & J …               11.5%

                Fernie …                                              11.1%

                Nelson & Areas E & F …                  10.9%

                Slocan …                                              10.8%

                Grand Forks …                                       9.2%

                Kaslo & Area D …                                  7.2%

Here is the letter that brought us the news:

To all participants in the Community Voters Challenge:

Good news … finally!

After 4 ½ months Elections Canada has finally provided the poll-by-poll election results necessary to calculate which of our competing communities had the greatest increase in voter turnout between the 2011 and 2015 elections.

The results – in a word – are celebratory.

We have a winner, but more, we have evidence of how incredibly well-engaged all of us in the Kootenays are in the democratic process, outshining not only national and provincial turnout levels, but even cities across the whole southern interior.

Two of our communities had a voter turnout of over 80%. Given that the national level was 68% –itself a marked increase from 2011 – this is extremely impressive.

It is with pleasure that we announce that the winner of the Challenge is the City of Rossland, with a voter turnout of 81%, an increase from 2011 of 12.7%.

All the results, together with some observations, are attached.

On behalf of the organizers, we congratulate the City of Rossland, as well as the Village of Slocan who topped the voter turnout with 84%.
But we also salute all of you.  Your willingness and efforts to engage your communities, to invite and include them in the democratic process, and to let them share in the pride of having provided an example to the rest of the country, is deserving of huge respect.

This was Civic engagement at its very best. Bravo!


Mike Chapman


Categories: Politics

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