Hector Bremner, the NPA’s candidate for the October 14 byelection, was able to accurately predict voter turnout.
Voter turnout was 11 per cent of the city’s eligible 442,792 voters in Vancouver on Saturday. Bremner came out on top with 13,372 votes, close to 28 per cent of the 48, 645 ballots, according to Vancouver City Council.
“The byelection turnout is expected to be somewhere between 10-15 per cent,” Bremner said in a phone interview with the Voice on October 5. “What we are doing is working hard in a variety of ways to get the word out. Advertising online in a targeted way is the most effective for us.” Bremner was accurate in his prediction of voter turnout.
Jillian Oliver, the Press Secretary for the BC Green Caucus, thinks that it is difficult to tie voter turnout with online advertising.
“It’s just impossible to tell what brings people to the polls,” Oliver said. “I think technology is having more complex impacts on political consciousness and political engagement that is constantly evolving and playing out in unexpected ways.”
The Voice interviewed 10 people outside Vancouver City Hall on the afternoon of October 14.
Alex Boslow is one of the 10 voters the Voice interviewed outside of city hall and is a supporter of Jean Swanson based on her central campaign message of tackling homelessness and poverty. Other issues that concern Boslow are “the housing crises and the shitty economy for young people in this city as well,” Boslow said. “I need to think about leaving the city I grew up in because I don’t see an affordable future for myself here.” He predicted voter turnout to be “cynically low” at 50%, which he wasn’t aware would be a record turnout for a municipal election.
Rebecca Brewer, voter and campaign promoter was handing out brochures and encouraging people to vote for Swanson at the Vancouver Art Book Fair at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Saturday. She said that predicting voter turnout is really hard. “I heard from somebody who was voting in the West end today that they had unprecedented turnouts in the West end,” Brewer said. “Meanwhile, we have been working a lot on trying to get out the vote in the Downtown Eastside because Jean Swanson is a candidate who really resonates there.”
Brewer noticed that polling stations weren’t as busy on the East side and that some polling stations have moved from previous locations that people were familiar with.
Bremner will now join NPA councillors George Affleck, Elizabeth Ball and Melissa De Genova on city council. His term will end shortly after the next Vancouver civic election in October 2018.
For the 2014 general civic election, turnout was 43 per cent, up from 35 per cent in 2011.
For the most recent by-election in 1992, only 10 per cent of Vancouver’s 269,580 registered voters cast ballots.