Drumheller shows strong voter turnout for municipal election

·2 min read

With municipal elections over, and the new Drumheller Town Council members preparing for their four-year terms, some residents have shifted their focus from local municipal politics to voter turnout.

Locally, a total of 2,631 people out of a possible 5,565 eligible voters-or 47.28 per cent of the voter base-made it out to the polls to cast their ballots.

“47 per cent (of voters) turned out, which is fantastic from our standpoint; you’re always going to get people who don’t vote,” Drumheller Returning Officer and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Darryl Drohomerski said.

While it may seem disappointing that less than half the eligible voters made their voices heard, the turnout was actually slightly higher than in 2017 when there was a turnout of 46.25 per cent of voters-or 2,620 of 5,665 eligible electors.

CAO Drohomerski says, compared to other, larger municipalities, Drumheller actually had a strong turnout.

Some 46 per cent of Calgary residents voted, while 37.6 per cent of Edmonton residents voted, and in the City of Airdrie only 22 per cent of voters turned out-this was down from 2017 when the city had a voter turnout of 24 per cent.

There were also some changes for Drumheller voters.

This year the town offered four days of advanced polling, which drew a total of 1,224 people, and an additional 1,405 voters on election day.

Voting was also only held at the Badlands Community Facility (BCF) rather than at multiple polling locations throughout the municipality and its outlying communities, including East Coulee and Wayne.

CAO Drohomerski says data from previous voting years was used and found some 75 to 80 per cent of voters in 2017 used the BCF and Church of the Nazarene during the advanced polls.

Mobile voting locations were set up for those in local senior’s facilities, and continuing and acute care at the Drumheller Health Centre.

Changing to a singular polling station is something modelled after other municipalities according to Drohomerski; in Airdrie, where the voter base is some 54,000 people, he says there were two polling locations during advanced polls, and an additional two locations were opened on election day. This allowed the Returning Officer and Deputy Returning Officer to spend less time driving between each polling location on election night.

He adds he has received numerous compliments about the set up for electors and says it was thanks to the great planning and adaptation of those working the election, and says this is something the town may look at for future elections or byelections.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail

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