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Increase in voters results in change in office

Don Fennell   Oct-25-2018

Alexa Loo was re-elected.

Photo by Chung Chow


Numbers can be interpreted any number of ways, but they do often tell a story.

All told, 47,392 votes were cast from an estimated 132,819 eligible voters during this year’s civic election. The roughly 35 per cent turnout is up significantly from 2014 and was just shy of this year’s provincial average of 36 per cent. Richmond’s voter turnout was in line with other Lower Mainland municipalities.

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Voter turnout in Richmond in 2014 was 31 per cent, up from 26 per cent in 2011 and 23 per cent in 2008. The provincial average was 34 per cent in 2014, 30 per cent in 2011, and 28 per cent in 2008.

First elected mayor of Richmond in 2001, Malcolm Brodie—an independent candidate—received an overwhelming endorsement from the public as he was returned to office by 64.3 per cent of those whose cast ballots. Now the longest-serving mayor in the Lower Mainland, he received 30,452 votes or 64.3 per cent from the 35 per cent of eligible voters who cast ballots. He was also elected with strong majorities in the two previous elections—receiving 27.149 votes or 67.4 per cent support in the 2014 election and 20,955 votes or 67.3 per cent in 2011.

Roy Sakata, who also ran as an independent, was a distant second in the 2018 election with 7,942 votes or 16.8 per cent of the popular vote.

Reflecting the public’s appetite for change, incumber Richmond Team of Electors (RITE) councillor Carol Day topped the polls with 44 per cent of the popular vote (20,871). The Richmond Independent Team of Electors candidate was aligned with veteran incumbent councillor Harold Steves (Richmond Citizens Association) in strongly opposing large farmhouses. Steves finished second in the polls with 19,136 votes or 40.4 per cent of the popular vote. He has sat on city council for all but four years (when he represented Richmond as a member of the provincial governing NDP in the early 1970s) since 1969.

With longtime councillor Ken Johnston not being re-elected (he finished just over 2,000 votes shy of the number needed), fellow incumbent Chak Au remains the lone councillor representing the Richmond Community Coalition party. Au finished with 38 per cent of the popular vote on 18,026 votes—the third-highest total earned for a position on city council.

Two candidates representing Richmond First, which previously held the power of balance of power, re-elected two incumbents—Bill McNulty and Linda McPhail. McNulty earned the fourth-most votes with 17,242 or 36.4 per cent of the popular vote. He had topped the polls in each of the previous two elections, with 42.2 and 51.2 per cent of the votes in the 2014 and 2011 respectively.

McPhail garnered 15,521 votes for a 32.8 per cent shares of the popular vote, while RITE candidate Michael Wolfe became a first-time councillor by earning 13,627 votes or 28.8 per cent of the popular vote.

The eighth and final council spot went to incumbent Alexa Loo. An independent, she got 13,212 votes or 27.9 per cent of the popular vote. Fellow incumbent Derek Dang, a member of the Richmond First party, finished fewer than 100 votes back. However, Dang has said he will not ask for a potential recount. Dang had the fourth most votes—14.844—in the 2014 election.

The makeup of the Richmond School Board was also altered following the Oct. 20 civic election, with three incumbents replaced. Eric Yung, who had been board chair, received just over 20 per cent of the popular vote, while Alice S. Wong lost her seat after garnering 23.1 per cent of the popular vote. Jonathan Ho chose not to seek re-election and instead ran unsuccessfully for a seat on city council.

Ken Hamaguchi, who in the 2014 election ran as independent, topped the polls for the seven trustee seats with 17,196 votes or 36.3 per cent of the popular vote. Hamaguchi’s newly-formed Richmond Education Party will also occupy three other seats on the board as incumbent Sandra Nixon finished second with 35 per cent of the popular vote; newcomer Heather Larson fourth with 28 per cent of the popular vote; and longtime incumbent and former chair Debbie Tablotney fifth with 27.9 per cent of the popular vote.

Another longtime incumbent and former chair, Donna Sargent of the Richmond First party, earned the third-most votes with 15,947 or 33.6 per cent of the popular vote.

Two newcomers, Richard Lee (who ran an independent candidate) and Norm Goldstein (Richmond First), won the final two seats. Lee had just under 26 per cent of the popular vote and Goldstein just under 24 per cent.

Karina Reid of the Richmond Education Party finished less than 200 votes behind Goldstein with 11,064 votes compared to 11,234.


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