During the 2008 municipal election, Metchosin residents had to wait until 2 a.m. for the results, and most likely they will stay up late this time too.
Council was given the option to speed up the hand-count process by using ballot tallying machines, but after a split vote, it appears Metchosin residents and candidates are going to have to be patient this November.
Coun. Moralea Milne made the motion to stick with the hand count as it was less expensive than the using the machine system. The motion was supported by Coun. Jo Mitchell and Mayor John Ranns.
The cost for the 2008 election’s hand count was $2,840 for the ballots and staff. The projected cost of using a ballot counting machine this election is $4,010, which included the machine rental, machine programming, ballot layout and ballots.
Couns. Larry Tremblay and Bob Gramigna were opposed.
“We need to get with the 21st century and no more waiting until three, four in the morning for results,” Tremblay said.
“The time has come to go with the machine,” Gramigna added. “Metchosin did do this before and the sky didn’t fall when we did it.”
The District used the machine system in the 2005 election and it cost the District $4,960.
Ranns said after the 2005 election he received many calls from residents questioning the machine’s accuracy and the possibility of it being rigged. Ranns supported the hand count option to “avoid controversy,” he said.
“I’ve sat in on the count before and it’s an interesting way to see democracy,” Ranns said. “We provide a little bit of employment in the community and people get to participate in democracy hands-on.”
As for the hand count adding several hours for results, Ranns mentioned the District could hire more people to count to speed up the process, although he isn’t too concerned about the wait time.
“So you have to sit at the fire hall for a couple more hours and have a beer and watch the results,” Ranns said. “As a candidate it’s kinda fun.”