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City encouraging residents to get out and vote during upcoming municipal election

Legislative Services Director Janet Prestley speaks to the Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo by Chris Newton
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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City’s Legislative Services Director Janet Prestley says the City wants more Fort St. John residents to get out and vote during this fall’s municipal election.

Speaking at the Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce luncheon today, Prestley spoke about some of the outreach the City will be doing to help bolster some of the lowest municipal election voter turnout stats in Northern B.C. According to the City, Fort St. John municipal election voter turnout has consistently lagged at least 19 percent behind the provincial average.

During the 2008 municipal election, Fort St. John recorded a voter turnout of 23 percent while the average across B.C. was 43 percent. In 2014, the provincial average voter turnout was 41 percent, while Fort St. John’s voter turnout dropped to 15 percent. Some of the factors that have been blamed on the drop in turnout during election include the acclamation of the Mayor and a lack of controversial issues.

Prestley said that many residents often forget that they interact with their local municipal government much more often than with their provincial or federal counterparts. She added that many residents also might not know that voting can often take less time than ordering a cup of coffee at a fast food restaurant.

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According to Prestley, residents will have three ways to vote during the upcoming municipal election: in person, at the curbside, and by mail. She said that the polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Fort St. John Legion on the day of the election, which is scheduled for Saturday, October 20th. Residents can also vote from the curbside in the comfort of their vehicles outside the polling station, or can request a mail-in ballot from the City ahead of the election.

For more information about the upcoming municipal election, contact Janet Prestley at City Hall at (250) 787-8150.

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