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BY THE NUMBERS: Surrey, White Rock election turnout higher than B.C. average

Voter turnout up in Surrey, down in White Rock compared to 2018, however

Voter turnout was ever-so-slightly higher in both Surrey and White Rock than the provincial average, though White Rock’s turnout was significantly less than it was for the 2018 election.

Surrey voters – who elected Brenda Locke as mayor, dethroning the embattled incumbent Doug McCallum – came out to the polls at a 31.8 per cent clip according to Civic Info BC – which was 2.6 per cent higher than the provincial average; the City of Surrey website, however, lists voter turnout at 34.54 per cent.

Compared to 2018 numbers, however, Civic Info BC’s reported numbers are slightly lower percentage-wise – 32.89 per cent – but there were more eligible voters this year (344,268) compared to 2018 (337,289).

White Rock also topped the provincial average in voter turnout, but just barely – the city’s number of 29.4 per cent was just 0.3 per cent higher than the B.C. average. However, just 29.2 per cent of eligible voters went to the polls this year, compared to more than 39 per cent in 2018. This year, there were 18, 148 eligible voters, compared to 15,862 for the last election four years ago.

As far as gender representation goes, Surrey had 39 men and 24 women running for office at the mayor or councillor level, with six men and three women elected. In White Rock, 12 men and eight women ran, with four men and three woman elected, including the city’s new mayor, Megan Knight, who defeated incumbent mayor Darryl Walker by fewer than 200 votes.

In both cities, the rate of incumbents being re-elected to their posts was lower than the provincial average of 80.3 per cent. In White Rock, only 50 per cent of incumbents (two of four) were re-elected – councillors Christopher Trevelyan and David Chesney, who were first and third in the councillor voting results, respectively. Trevelyan received 2,774 votes out of a possible 5,339 (51.96 per cent).

Two former councillors, Erika Johanson and Scott Kristjanson, lost in their respective runs for the White Rock mayorship, though they were not technically incumbents as a result of not running again for a council seat.

Another incumbent councillor, Anthony Manning, lost his seat after finishing seventh; he received 152 fewer votes than councillor-elect Michelle Partridge, who earned the final seat.

Surrey had incumbents re-elected at just a 37.5 per cent rate, with eight running and three re-elected – councillors Linda Annis, Doug Elford and Mandeep Nagra. Annis, a member of the Surrey First slate, earned the most votes of any council candidates, while Elford and Nagra – both members of the McCallum-led Safe Surrey Coalition – were seventh and eighth in the final tally.

A fourth, former-councillor Locke, won the mayor’s race, though like Johanson and Kristjanson in White Rock, was not technically an incumbent.

Other Surrey councillors who won in 2018 but were not re-elected this time around were Safe Surrey Coalition members Allison Patton and Laurie Guerra, who finished 13th and 17th, respectively, as well as former SSC slate member-turned-independent Steven Pettigrew, who claimed just 7.31 per cent of the vote and finished 37th.

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