ELECTION 2014: Forum aims at boosting voter participation

Second component of a three-part plan to encourage increased voter turnout for this month’s civic elections

The Young Professionals of Campbell River (YPCR) have taken up the torch of getting out the vote in local elections on Nov. 15.

And the organization has teamed up with the Campbell River Mirror to implement the second component of a three-part plan to encourage increased voter turnout for this month’s civic elections.

Tomorrow night, YPCR and the Campbell River Mirror are hosting a City Election Forum at the Tidemark Theatre from 6-10 p.m. All 17 candidates for councillor and three candidates for mayor are expected to be there to answer questions on a variety of issues ranging from taxation to economic development as well as environmental and social issues.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to hear what everybody has to say,” said Amanda Raleigh, YPCR president and one of the forum organizers.

There will be separate questions for the councillor candidates and the mayoral candidates. The format for the councillors will involve picking names at random to answer different questions. One of the challenges with election forums involving so many candidates is keeping it from taking so long and getting repetitive.

The candidates will be given the questions ahead of time so they can formulate their responses. This prevents them from wasting their allotment of time composing their answer in their head while the clock ticks.

Raleigh said this is the second component of the YPCR’s effort to educate the public – young and old alike – on local politics and the democratic process. It was an issue the group identified earlier in the fall as something they wanted pursue.

The first event was a presentation by civic electoral officer Peter Wipper on voter apathy to the YPCR membership last week, which was reported in the Oct. 31 Mirror (“Why don’t people vote in local elections?”).

The third component will be a “I Voted” party where people can get together on election night and celebrate the fact that they exercised their democratic right to vote, regardless of who they voted for.

“We really felt it is important to empower our community (to vote) whether it be young or old,” Raleigh said.

So, get out to the Tidemark Theatre tomorrow night and hear what the candidates have to say, then get out and vote on Nov. 15.