Castlegar’s byelection is now in the past with the newly-elected mayor and councillor sworn in on May 17. The city has now released its final report on how much the election cost local taxpayers and final vote tallies.
The budget for the 2021 byelection was set at $35,000, more than double the $17,000 budget for the 2018 general election. A large portion of the increase was due to the extra measures needed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things like using a larger facility, extra staff and safety supplies cost $9500.
Adding mail-in ballots also increased election expenses. The cost for mail ballot supplies and advertising was $2,775 and approximately 100 hours of staff time was dedicated to mail ballots.
The remaining increases were mostly due to an increase in costs for printing, shipping, advertising, and materials and the rental of additional voting machines.
The two advance voting days required seven election officials and the regular voting day required 12 officials. About 700 staff hours were dedicated to preparing for and administering the byelection.
Voter turnout for the byelection was 37 per cent, down from 46 per cent at the 2018 general election, but up 6 per cent compared to the 2016 byelection. Historically, the city has had lower voter turnout for byelections with just 16-per-cent turnout in 2013 and 18.5-per-cent turnout in 2008.
There were 6,361 voters on the provincial voter list, 115 new registrations, 22 registered non-resident property electors and 10 new registrations for non-resident property electors for a total of 6,508 eligible voters. The number of valid votes cast was 2415.
Vote break down
Votes were almost evenly split between advance (1016) and mail voting (207) and the general voting day (1192).
There were only six ballots rejected, five of them were mail-in and one was from general voting day.
Total votes cast for mayor:
Kirk Duff — 724
Florio Vassilakakis — 682
Lawrence Chernoff — 498
Gordon Zaitsoff — 311
Gord Lamont — 190
Total votes cast for councillor:
Brian Bogle — 1518
Sandy Bojechko — 371
Shirley Falstead — 287
Heather Fancy — 200
Individual candidate financial disclosure reports are not due until July.