The costs of a byelection

The Chilliwack school trustee byelection cost the school district nearly $44,000, but what does that mean?

Last month’s byelection cost the Chilliwack school district $3 for every vote cast.

The total cost of the byelection was $43,908.76; $6,100 less than the projected estimate of $50,000.

In comparison, that’s roughly equivalent to the wages of two educational assistants over a nine-month period.

Of the roughly 64,000 eligible voters in Chilliwack, 1,453 cast a ballot in last month’s school trustee byelection; 2.3 per cent of the voting population. Of that, the winning candidate, Dan Coulter, took home 520 of those votes – a cost of roughly $1,560 for the votes received.

Had former school trustee Louise Piper waited on her resignation, the byelection, and its expenses, likely would not have occurred.

When Piper resigned in August, Chilliwack board of education requested the B.C. Education Ministry let it continue operating with six trustees instead of seven for the remainder of the term.

The government denied the request citing Section 36 of the School Act that states a byelection must be held if a trustee resigns prior to Jan. 1 of an election year.

Piper’s resignation (after a nine-month absence due to undisclosed medical reasons) was slightly over four months shy of January.

Chilliwack goes back to the polls for the municipal general election in November, 2014.

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