Letter: Grand Forks one of 14 in challenge

Let us celebrate your joining the challenge and for sharing our determination to engage more of us in the democratic process

An open letter to all the participants in the Community Voters Challenge:

To begin, let us celebrate your joining the challenge and for sharing our determination to engage more of us in the democratic process. Together, we’ve initiated an important conversation and reinserted some spirit and optimism in the idea of voting. Thank you!

Once more, the Kootenays stand out, and not just for the height of their mountains.

You are in very good company—there are 14 of you in the competition! They include the cities of Grand Forks, Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson and Fernie; the villages of Slocan, New Denver, Nakusp, Kaslo; and the Regional District of Central Kootenay Areas D, E, F, I and J.

Voter turnout percentages from the 2011 federal election for all 14 communities are posted on our Facebook page (CommunityVotersChallenge), and once we have the results after Oct. 19, we’ll ascertain who had the greatest increase. (Grand Forks had a 62-per-cent turnout in 2011.)

It will be some time before Elections Canada collects, counts and publishes these new numbers—possibly into November—but we will get them to you as soon as we have them.

Municipal areas have been grouped together with their neighbouring communities and will participate as one entity in the challenge. This was agreed to at our request, given overlapping electoral boundaries and the fact that advance polls were only held in the larger communities. It made the vote counts much easier.

And what of Rick Mercer, you may be asking? In spite of our consistent knocking on his door—including filming the marvellous mock rant by Nelson’s Lucas Myers (See the Facebook page)—we are still waiting for him to acknowledge what we’ve pulled off here.

His presence has been strongly felt throughout, though, and we have to thank him for being such a champion of democratic engagement. As he says, “Let’s do what young people all over the world are dying to do—VOTE!”

A huge “Bravo!” to you all, and once more, hearty thanks—what a great reason for us to have all come together.

Good luck in getting your people out on the 19th!

– Mike Chapman, Kiara Lynch, and Steve Thompson, Nelson, B.C.,

for the Community Voters Challenge