In this day and age, if a quarter of the voters show up at the polls, it’s considered ‘good’ turnout.
Apparently your political correspondent at The Leader had a lot more energy in 2013 – at least judging by the effort that year put into figuring out the number of eligible voters in Slave Lake. The best the town could come up with at that time was an estimate, which seemed a bit fishy (it was 5,200). But we went to great lengths in 2013, calling all the schools for their attendance figures, subtracting the total from the official population, adding the number of M.D. residents in those student figures, subtracting the number of town kids at the daycare, estimating the number of pre-schoolers not in daycare and taking that off the total population, then estimating the number of residents old enough but not eligible to vote and subtracting that. We came up with a number different than the town’s for eligibility, but who knows how accurate it was. The number of voters (about 1,200) was only 26 per cent in that scenario.
And this year? A smaller turnout, at 1,089. We’re not doing all that calling and calculating again just to come up with a questionable percentage figure on voter turnout. Has the population of the town dropped? Maybe it has. Maybe 1,089 is about the same 26 per cent as last time. It probably would have been a bit higher if there had been a race for mayor.
And (this just in), the returning officer at the town figures the eligible number of voters to be between 3,500 and 4,000, and says likely on the lower end of that range. If so, then the turnout was around 30 per cent. Not great, but not bad, as these things go.
A friend of The Leader, just back from Down Under, says Aussies are required by law to vote; if they don’t, they get fined!