Chamber encouraging voter turnout

Local business community is hoping to surpass last election cycle's turnout of only 30 per cent.

Last election cycle, Cranbrook had an abysmal voter turnout, as only 30 per cent of the city’s eligible voters showed up to cast their ballots.

The Chamber of Commerce is doing their part to try and get the vote out when the polls open for the general election on Nov. 15.

The Chamber has worked with their members to develop a few strategies to encourage people to vote, mainly by utilizing social media and promoting the election in their businesses.

Chamber president Dave Butler emphasizes that the organization is apolitical—the Chamber is not supporting or promoting any particular candidate for mayor or council—but voter turnout has to be better, he adds.

“Image if Cranbrook had the highest voter-turnout in all of British Columbia,” said Butler, in a letter to Chamber members. “Imagine what that would say about our community and about how much we care.”

The challenge to encourage and promote voter turnout isn’t just limited to businesses—it applies to organizations, clubs and the general public, Butler said.

“We’re really just trying to make it a community project to get our vote up,” Butler continued. “Really, our goal here is to try and become the community in B.C. with the highest percentage of voters who come out and cast their vote.”

The get-out-the-vote strategy includes utilizing social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get people talking with their family and friends about the issues and the candidates.

“I think we all know these days, is social media is often the way to get these more instantaneous messages out, get people talking and thinking and sharing,” said Butler. “So we want to try to use that social media piece to put icons up on their social media platforms or their websites.”

Other suggestions in the strategy include having an election or a voting icon to webpages and email signatures, or putting up election posters in business window fronts.