I was at the dog park this week speaking with a young 29 year old elector who told me he had absolutely no interest in voting. We chatted for a bit about the importance of getting out to vote but I couldn’t persuade him to participate because to him, one vote wouldn’t make a difference. It got me to thinking – how many local government elections are shaped by one vote – one elector?
I heard a story ages ago from the Mayor of the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality Mayor Gary Foster about his election to council in the 90s where he tied with the last place candidate. Both candidates went before a judge to make a determination and that judge drew names from a hat, and declared him the winner of the election. According to The Candidate’s Guide for Local Government Elections in BC, this is still a current practice and there are two ways to deal with a tie: drawing names from a hat, or doing a runoff ballot.
So going back to the question: does your vote really matter – can one vote really make a difference? I reviewed all the voting data from every local government election in 2018 and found some interesting examples that prove one vote really does make a difference.
Anmore, Burns Lake, Highlands, Keremeos, Lion’s Bay, Lytton, McBride, Midway, New Hazelton, North Saanich, Radium Hot Springs, Silverton, Telkwa, Trail, and Zeballos had councils where every candidate was acclaimed. One could argue that a single person putting forward their nominations papers could have produced an entirely different outcome in the election.
In Belcarra, the last place elected councillor won by just one vote, and in Armstrong, Cumberland, Gold River, Greenwood, Pouce Coupe, Powell River, Sparwood, and Squamish, the last place elected councillor won by just two votes. Those communities where the last place elected councillor won by less than 10 votes: Qualicum, Slocan, Hazelton, Merritt, Sicamous, Creston, Port Alice, Sayward, Logan Lake, Coquitlam, New Denver, and Barriere.
Here’s the full list ending with Nanaimo, which had the biggest spread between the last place elected councillor with a 2564 vote spread.
|Radium Hot Springs||0|
|Fort St James||12|
|100 Mile House||21|
|Fort St John||37|
|Harrison Hot Springs||90|
|District North Vancouver||101|
|City of North Vancouver||137|
It might not seem like your vote makes a difference but it can and it does. So, this election, we have two more days of advanced voting opportunities and general voting day for you to get out and cast your vote. It very well could be the difference between your candidate getting elected or not.