Saturday, July 14, 2007

On disinterest

In the comments to this morning's post, Celeste points out an article on the results from the Greens' nomination meeting in Saanich-Gulf Islands. But while Andrew Lewis has been nominated as the Greens' candidate once again, tonight's results suggest that Lewis is seriously lacking for support within the riding:
After a heated meeting and lively debate, Green party members in the Saanich-Gulf Islands riding voted today to run a candidate in the next federal election.

An e-mail urging Green Party members to vote "none of the above" rather than select Andrew Lewis as riding representative was sent out by a small group of dissenters Thursday.

The signees don't think a Green party candidate could win the riding and wants members to vote for Liberal candidate Briony Penn or NDP candidate Julian West, both former Green Party of B.C. members, instead of running one of their own in order to unseat Conservative MP Gary Lunn...

After the two hour meeting, 84 per cent of the 21 members in attendance voted to have Lewis represent the party.
Now, ordinarily a turnout of 21 people to acclaim a repeat candidate might not be cause for too much concern. But with the "none of the above" option receiving national media coverage in the days before the meeting, I'd have to figure that Lewis would have tried to rally his troops to solidify the nomination rather than risking having his candidacy torpedoed by even a modicum of organization on the "none of the above" side. And the Greens can't be happy that their investment of nearly $100,000 in Lewis over the past two federal elections translated into a meager 17 members who showed up to vote for him.

Of course, the "none of the above" camp proved to be even weaker at only 4 votes, meaning that Lewis will get the Green nomination again. But based on Lewis' tepid support and the public airing of the possibility of not contesting the riding, it looks entirely possible that the next federal election will continue Lewis' pattern of losing votes as time goes by - ensuring that a former target riding gets further out of reach for the Greens.

Update: A different set of numbers from another blog forced me to check my off-the-cuff math - but the result suggests that the Saanich-Gulf Islands Greens have their own results wrong. 17 votes out of 21 would have led to a result of 81%, while 18 would have led to a result of 86%: there's simply no way for a whole number of votes over a denominator of 21 to lead to a result of 84%.

It is possible that the result could have been something along the lines of 16 for Lewis, 3 for "none of the above" and 2 spoiled ballots - which would result in 21 members eligible to vote, while 84% of the actual votes went to Lewis. But that would only reduce Lewis' level of support even further...and hint at another set of potential voters who weren't willing to actually support him.

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