The ins and outs of ballot counting

A total of 156 ballots were rejected in the municipal election, nearly two per cent of the voter turnout

  • Nov. 24, 2011 9:00 a.m.

A total of 156 ballots were rejected in the municipal election, nearly two per cent of the voter turnout.

Ballots were rejected if one section – either the vote for mayor, councillors, or school trustee – was left blank.

“The voting card was actually treated as three separate ballots,” Peter Wipper, chief election official, said.

Because each race can be considered a separate ballot, if one section was left blank, only that section was rejected, not the entire voting card. However, if for example someone voted for only four council candidates, instead of the maximum number of six, those four candidate votes would still be counted. Ballots were only rejected if someone completely blanked out a section.

Wipper said ballots were also rejected, or spoiled, if people voted for too many mayor,  council, or school trustee candidates.

However, the city’s voting machine would automatically spit out any voting cards where someone over voted. The 92 people who did spoil a ballot were given a replacement voting card.

“Because the city uses an automated voting machine, if someone spoils a ballot, they can get a replacement,” Wipper said. “The machine catches spoiled ballots. Every one of those 92 people who spoiled a ballot still got to cast a vote.”

There were 24,014 registered voters when the election began and 275 new registrations for a total of 24,289 eligible voters.

Voter turnout was 7,404, or 30 per cent of registered voters. That number is one of the lowest on record. In 2008, 9,537 people cast a ballot, a turnout of 39.9 per cent and in 2005, voter turnout was 33 per cent with 7,291 people voting.

Mayor-elect Walter Jakeway won this year’s mayoral race with 2,741 votes. Larry Samson, Ron Kerr and incumbents Andy Adams, Ryan Mennie, Claire Moglove and Mary Storry were all elected as councillors.

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