Kelowna Votes

On Saturday, October 20th, we saw voters head to the polls across British Columbia, including Kelowna.

In a mere 12 hours Kelowna citizens voted for a Mayor, 8 councillors, and 4 school trustees who will serve the Kelowna community for the next 4-year term. Many of the Council members are already well known to locals and have proven their dedication to serving our beautiful city.

For those of you who would like to welcome our 2018-2022 City Council, they will be officially sworn in during a public event on November 7th at 7 p.m. in the Mary Irwin Theatre at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

Why Vote?

Even though politics can sometimes be a controversial and an uneasy topic to discuss, it has always been an important part of my family’s life. We believe in informed citizens making informed decisions.

Photo courtesy of City of Kelowna

This is especially important when it comes to strengthening the purpose of democracy by doing everyone’s duty as citizens: voting.

Based on a 2017 Citizen survey, most Kelowna residents are satisfied with City services and are happy with how their tax dollars are spent. This goes to show that being politically active and voting for public representatives makes a difference in individual and community lives. Being informed on local politicians, their vision, their work ethic and dedication helps when the time comes to vote in municipal election.  

The 2018 Municipal Election and Voters

Photo Courtesy of The Canadian Press

It was great to see that right here in Kelowna 8,049 electors had cast their vote in the advanced voting, and that by 8 p.m. on Saturday a total of 32,151 people had voted.

It might seem a bit disheartening at first to know that there are around 130,000 residents in Kelowna, with majority being the voting age, yet only 30.41% voted.

But I believe that this is not a sign of voter apathy.

There are many individuals, especially those aged 18 to 40, expressing their political views on social media, signing petitions, wearing badges or T-shirts that show their affiliations and political views, and taking part in marches on various social, economic and other issues.

The political interest is there, perhaps it’s a matter of time until it grows into a feeling that electoral participation is also a part of the civic duty.

The Young Future Voters

This election, we saw many of the candidates interact with voters through social media as well as the more “old school” media like news and newspapers. Curiosity on whether youth watches news anymore brought me to Statistics Canada, where data from 2013 showed that 22% of youth aged 15 to 19 said they watched the news and were interested in current events. The percentage increased to 55% for those aged 35 to 44, and 87% among those aged 75 and over. 

Let’s hope these numbers of informed citizens has remained the same or perhaps grown a bit by 2018, I wasn’t able to find any recent stats.

Youth show engagement differently, mostly through social media campaigns and forums, which, I hope, would eventually turn into more politically active individuals and future voters.

Education is another important factor to having an informed, curious and politically active society. According to Statistics Canada, a higher level of education is associated with increased participation in various types of political activities.

With two major campuses in town, UBCO and Okanagan College, both educating thousands of individuals on social and political issues, we might see more people vote in the next 2022 elections.

Why I Care

Voting is crucial for democracy. The past four years Kelowna has been managed by trusted individuals who have proven they care for our city and communities, and many have been re-elected for another term with the City Council.

With the city growing, more people call it home and care for its growth, so perhaps the 2022 municipal election might see a higher number of individuals casting their votes.

Stay informed on latest news and current affairs, be curious on how you can play an active role in changing where and how you live, and perhaps I’ll meet you at the polls during the next election.   

 

You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.

Your Vote Matters on October 20th

Politics can be an uncomfortable topic of conversation around the dinner table.

It’s controversial and when people have different opinions it can lead to arguments and fights. However, just because something makes you uncomfortable does not mean you should ignore it.

One of the biggest problems in current society is that people ignore politics and don’t pay attention to the news and recent events.

As a result, people heading to the polls might be misinformed or poorly informed, or the elections are just absent of voters in general.

As a citizen, it is your civic duty to vote in your local, provincial, and national elections.

I’m not going to try to sway anyone in who they should vote for, whether they lean left or right is none of my business and changing their mind isn’t my place. Everyone is different and has had different experiences in life. These experiences influence how you view social, economic, and political issues.

It wouldn’t be right for me to try to influence you to vote in a way that I personally feel is best. However, I do feel it’s important to inform people about the upcoming elections.

When and Where Can You Vote?

Photo Courtesy of The Canadian Press

With elections coming up in Kelowna this October, it’s a time where it’s more important than ever to be educated on what’s going on in the city and what each of the candidates stand for.

On Saturday, October 20th from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. voting stations will be open all around the city. Some advanced voting days and locations will also be set up between October 10th and 20th. It’s your duty as a citizen to vote, because if people aren’t voting it ruins the purpose of a democracy.

Who Can Vote?

To vote as a resident elector you need to fit a certain criteria. That criteria includes being a Canadian citizen and being 18 years old by the date of the election. Additionally, you must have been a resident of British Columbia for six months by the date of election as well as a resident of Kelowna for 30 days by that same date.

Those are the basic criteria, but if you have any other questions or concerns about the election or voting you can get more information on the city’s website.

Why Vote?

Photo courtesy of City of Kelowna

Kelowna only has an election once every four years. With every election there are 13 major positions that are voted on: 4 School Trustees, 8 Councillors, and the Mayor. Each of these positions plays a big role in how the city is run, so making sure you are educated and vote is very important.

If you’re thinking of moving to Kelowna in the near future, you might find this information helpful. Even if you aren’t eligible to vote in this election, it’s good to educate yourself for the next one in 2022.

 

You can live here too. Check Kelowna Life to learn how.