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Mayors and councillors reflected apathy of voters at UBCM: councillor

The way Victoria City Councillor Chris Coleman saw it, many of his colleagues at last week's Union of British Columbia Municipalities meeting in Whistler were guilty of the same kind of apathy often seen in municipal elections.

At issue was a vote on whether or not to extend local government terms from three years to four, a proposal that eventually failed, much to the disappointment of representatives from larger communities.

“I was surprised that we only had 634 votes cast out of a possible 795, I think it was, delegates who were registered there,” said Coleman.

“We quite often decry low voter turn-out, and yet for perhaps one of the issues of greatest self-interest we can only get three-quarters of us out. Let that be some guidance that we need to do more work in getting people interested in balloting.”

The turnout may have been even worse than Coleman suggests. The UBCM says there were 1,500 delegates at the convention, though votes are distributed based on the number of elected officials in a municipality. It is so far unclear exactly how many votes were in play.

Turnout in Victoria for the 2008 municipal election was 27 percent.

Coleman said he voted for the four-year term, but could have been convinced either way.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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