Oh what a night! Oh what an election!
In my capacity as Returning Officer, I would like to congratulate all those who participated in the Municipal Election of November 5, 2017. Whether you participated as one of the 21 candidates, one of more than 130 members of the electoral staff or, more importantly, one of the 6,076 electors, you all contributed in making this past election a historical one. The participation rate, at 42.2%, was the highest if not ever, at least since the 1990s.
Alas, there is a downside to everything. While 21 good candidates had hoped to be elected and give their time and energy to the service of their community, only 9 will have this honour. I would like to think that most Westmounters would join me in thanking all candidates for running, debating various issues and getting the residents involved in the election. As a result, they made those who won more aware of what truly matters to Westmounters.
This past election, given its magnitude, brought with it a number of new challenges, including requiring 45 polling subdivisions, the hiring, training and managing of a large electoral staff and 12,152 ballots to be counted. Most of these challenges were tackled splendidly, thanks in large part to my staff. However, some were, unfortunately, not.
Should the next municipal election be similar to this past election, one of my recommendations will be to hold the Advance Poll in two different locations: one for Districts 1 to 4 and another for Districts 5 to 8. While each district will have at least two polling subdivisions (tables), District 5 will have three polling subdivisions, one of which will be dedicated to the subdivision in which the Manoir Westmount is located. These residents were forced to wait in line, in some cases for a long time, on October 29, 2017 and for this, I sincerely apologize.
In response to the comments that were reported in the Westmount Independent of November 7, 2017 that “many became increasingly exasperated by the wait” for election results on November 5, 2017 and “never, never have I seen the results take so long”, this was due to Westmount having, for the first time since 2005, a Mayoral race. With 12,152 ballots to sort out, compared to only 3,308 in 2009 and 3,241 in 2013, results were bound to take longer to become available.
With the exception of District 2 and 3, each polling subdivision had to count two separate sets of ballots – one for the Mayor and one for the Councillor. Furthermore, unlike the City of Montreal, who was able to begin counting the Advance Poll ballots as of 6:00 p.m., we had to wait until 8:00 p.m. to count these ballots which were significant in number. Finally, what also contributed in slowing us down was the fact that, as was explained, our website was unable to support thousands of people refreshing the web page – at the same time – to obtain the results.
Four years from now, should the election resemble that of 2017, the Returning Officer will benefit from the knowledge that we gained during this election.
In closing, I wish to thank Westmounters once again for coming out to vote and say a special thank you to my team, most notably Ms. Kenza Bouhaddi, Ms. Morgannis Graham and Mtre Nicole Dobbie, for all their hard work as the success we had is also theirs.
Westmount, in four years, we will be ready to do it again, if you are!
Mtre Martin St-Jean,
- 2017-10-13 – PUBLIC NOTICE OF THE POLL
- 2017-10-06 – REVISION OF THE MUNICIPAL LIST OF ELECTORS
- 2017-09-08 – MUNICIPAL GENERAL ELECTION – 5 NOVEMBER 2017
- 2017-08-29 – To the sole owners of an immovable, the sole occupants of a business establishment, the undivided co-owners of an immovable, and the co-occupants of a business establishment
- 2016-03-29 – MAINTAINING THE DIVISION OF THE TERRITORY OF THE MUNICIPALITY INTO ELECTORAL DISTRICTS
Declaration of election
Friday, October 6, 2017 at 4:31 p.m., having authorized only one candidacy for the position of City councillor for districts 2 and 3 of the City of Westmount, I declared candidates Philip A. Cutler (District 2) and Jeff Shamie (District 3) elected.
Mr. Cutler and Mr. Shamie will be sworn in at a later date in October. An announcement to that effect will follow.
Martin St-Jean, attorney