Voter turnout continues decline in Amherst

Darrell Cole
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Only 39 per cent cast ballots on election day

AMHERST – Voter apathy continues to rise in Amherst as far fewer ballots were cast in Saturday’s municipal election.

Kim Jones, the town’s chief returning officer, said voter turnout was only 39 per cent with just over 2,900 votes being cast for the two mayoral and nine council candidates.

“This was my fifth election in Amherst and this election continues a trend that started before I started here,” Jones said. “Four years ago, voter turnout was only about 50 per cent and it wasn’t much higher before that.”

Jones is not sure why voters are not participating in municipal elections, but said it’s something that’s happening in other municipalities.

“We’re not alone in this, other towns are seeing similar trends,” Jones said.

Mayor Robert Small said he was disappointed more votes weren’t cast in the election and suggested the new council will have to take a long look at other methods of voting before the next election in 2016.

“We talked about electronic voting before this election but decided to wait to get more information and to see how it worked elsewhere,” the mayor said. “It’s my understanding that Truro had a really good turnout by using evoting.”

Earlier this year, Jones was asked by council to investigate evoting. She recommended using evoting as an alternative to the advance polls, but council expressed concern with the potential for electoral fraud and the added cost of running the election as reasons for not proceeding.

Jones said she will await direction from council on taking another look at evoting. Jones said that while Truro’s experiment was successful, the numbers didn’t appear to be as solid in Halifax.

Elsewhere in the county, voter participation was higher. In Parrsboro, there was a 68 per cent voter turnout, while the number in Oxford was around 61 per cent and 50  per cent in Springhill.

Voter numbers varied in the Municipality of Cumberland. In District 9, where newcomer Mike McLellan defeated incumbent John Reid, there was a 77.9 per cent turnout.

The lowest was in District 5, where Lynne Welton defeated Kathy Langille. Only 32 per cent voted there. Fifty-eight per cent voted in District 3, 45 per cent voted in District 1, 43 per cent voted in District 6 and 40 per cent voted in District 7.

Overall voter turnout in the municipality was about 48 per cent.

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Recent comments

  • Janet Dale
    October 26, 2012 - 10:54

    Voter apathy is nothing new. People complaining and doing nothing? again, nothing new. We are pleased as punch Mr.Small was re-elected and look forward to seeing Ms.Emery & Mr.Balcom settle in and bring new ideas and conversation to the table. E-voting would certainly open up the opportunity for better voter turnout, but in my experience those who routinely sandbag themselves with poor choices, would not take advantage of any option... easier to play the 'blame game' and point fingers. Such is the human condition more often than not. Anyway, congratulations to all who won a seat!! to those who did not, thankyou for stepping up and taking the chance, it's appreciated by ALL who did think enough of the process to actually turn up and cast their ballot. P.S. Cannot WAIT to see the new digs downtown, once everyone and everything is moved in. I'll bring my water bill :)

  • Bob Kellegrew
    October 25, 2012 - 17:07

    To Anybody . Go to you tube and type in Oh Canada movie " Our Bought And Sold Land. Your eyes should be opened as to who really controls the banks and other concerns. The Rockefellers are also mentioned. I hope I don't get shot.

  • Bob Kellegrew
    October 25, 2012 - 09:57

    To Anybody, espectially John P. Go to you tube and type in Canadian Debt - A Rothschild Scam. This should enlighten youse for 15 minutes. I luv to abuse the English language.

  • John P
    October 25, 2012 - 06:51

    Dear FED UP, I am really interested in making sure that individuals such as yourself, learn to take the time to ensure they truly understand an issue prior to complaining about it. I am aware that federal funds are derived from my tax dollars but you seem to be under the assumption that the "excessive amount of money spent downtown" was money solely taken from Amherstonian's tax dollars. This is not correct. If you had of attended the meeting that were held, then you would be aware of this fact and therefore able to complain about it. But you are probably right, we should have let another town or municipality accept the money and have a nice, new downtown because of the "Rothschilds of Great Britain and the USA." By the way, I am also very interested in proper grammer and use of punctuation. Google it.

  • Jack On The Rocks
    October 24, 2012 - 15:53

    To Steve from read the paper on line and didn't see anything about the election until almost time to vote...the ADN had the listing of places to vote almost every 2nd day in the hard copy...Poorly Advertised...if you live under a rock,YES...otherwise...good

  • Robert Bird
    October 24, 2012 - 13:24

    Good feedback...just wondering why people can't use their real names and take credit for it?

  • Fed Up
    October 24, 2012 - 13:21

    Dear John P the federal money was YOUR tax dollars. The country of Canada is flat broke. The finances of governments are controlled by the wealthy Rothschilds of Great Britain and the USA. The Canadian bank act was changed many years ago. If you are really interested in Canada, look things up on Google. By following the same path as the USA which is trillions of dollars in debt, we are many billions of dollars in debt. By accepting the so called stimulus money, our elected officials added to the Canadian debt, which will never never be paid off.

  • Mediaboy
    October 24, 2012 - 10:15

    The fact that less than 3,000 people -- or 39 per cent of those eligible to do so -- voted in last Saturday's election is a disgrace. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians fought and died in two world wars and other conflicts so that we could do what many town residents didn't do -- vote for the candidate or candidates of their choice. There's an old saying that the people always get the government they deserve; unfortunately, that's the case with the most recent election. Those of you who didn't vote should be ashamed of yourselves, but I know you don't have enough sense to feel shame. Voting should be mandatory, and those who don't cast their ballot(s) should pay a hefty fine. A property tax rebate for those who vote would also encourage voter participation. It's getting to be an embarrassment to say one is from Amherst.

  • Fuzzy Bear
    October 24, 2012 - 09:54

    Good comments Mike, from my point of view I was honored to vote and pleased I batted 1000 with my selections. I do agree with the would be so easy and times are a changing council!!. People are on their computers every day reading the news, banking, or socializing on facebook so why not voting!. As a point of interest I hit the polling station about 10 am and the place was dead! Maybe 2 others besides me voting but there were wall to wall polling stations with 2 people sitting at every one gawking at the people coming in to vote. That's obviously all they had to do. Maybe just maybe some people find that uncomfortable and stay home because of it. E-voting would eliminate this discomfort. JMO!

  • Jack On The Rocks
    October 24, 2012 - 09:16

    Sounds to me that FED UP is spending too much time at everyone else has already stated...Don't Vote...DON"T have NO right to..

    • Steve from Amherst
      October 24, 2012 - 10:58

      I've lived in the same house for 7 years and have been on every voters list in every election for over 20 years until this election. We got no voters cards in the mail and we were not on the voters list when we finally found out where to vote. Voting this time was not easy and was poorly advertised. Amherst can do better. Although not easy I did manage to cast my ballot(s).

  • Tired of the complaints
    October 24, 2012 - 09:00

    I have lived in Amherst almost my whole life. I have never missed an election and was so proud and happy this year when my oldest child was able to vote. For the last 4 year I have listened to friends and family complain about the council mayor and decisions that they made and the money they have spent. They complain about too high taxes and moving town hall. These are the same people that then tell me they didnt bother to vote. These people have no right to complain. Voting is a privilage that we should all be happy to fulfill and should be teaching our children the same. The way things are progressing anyone can run for coucil and just have a few friends show up. Scary to think where we will be then. I am happy and proud to say i Didnt vote Small. I voted for change not higher taxes.

  • mike
    October 24, 2012 - 08:24

    What a great way to show your disgust, staying home !!!! Come on, voting would have been a much better way to stand up for what you believe(d) in. Although personally, I think that Mr. Small is doing a good job. Sad, however, that our council decided to remain in the dark ages, not that I am surprised, and not utilize e-voting. Would be the best way to reach the younger voters. It is our world.....get with it. Lisa and Frank, here is your chance to shine. We haven't seen much, aside from paving and re-paving, happen in our town in the last several years. Would be nice to see some action downtown. The 2 festivals that we had this summer were amazing, let's have the support of the town and keep things going.

  • Concerned Citizen
    October 24, 2012 - 08:05

    Fed Up - if you and these other people were really that disgusted with the money being spent downtown then you should have done something about it by voting.

  • unbelievable
    October 24, 2012 - 08:01

    Fed up,how do these people expect to change things if they don't damn well get out and vote to change it! There were 2 choices for Mayor and a couple of new faces for Council. No complaint!

  • John P
    October 24, 2012 - 07:59

    Hey FED UP- did you know that the "excessive money spent downtown" was federal money? Not your tax dollars? That if Amherst didn't get the funding then some other town would have? Do your research, go to the meetings they hold to discuss what residents want and don't complain about something you know nothing about.

  • justagirl
    October 24, 2012 - 07:53

    fed up- wouldnt that be more of a reason for the people you spoke to , to get out and vote??? if you want change and are sitting back complaining about it not doing anything, hows that gonna help. Online voting would be a gerat tool!! some people work and cant get away to go vote, i didnt get the chance to due to work but would have non the less. Wonder what the voting age range was. Any feedback on say the 25-35 age range. I dont know one single person in my age group that case a vote or even less discussed the election. Nobdoy cares.

  • Jason
    October 24, 2012 - 07:13

    I voted online in Halifax...really easy...36% voted in halifax 22% of that was online was can even spoil your ballot online!

  • Fed Up
    October 24, 2012 - 03:58

    Prior to the election in Amherst, I personally talked with many people who said they weren"t going to vote as they were disgusted with the councillors and mayor over the excessive amount of money spent downtown.