By Dan Davidson
In Dawson all the incumbent councillors were reelected to their seats on council, making it a clean sweep of all the current councillors who had wanted to run.
Mayor Wayne Potoroka was already acclaimed to a second term, being unopposed when nominations ceased.
As in 2012, Kyla MacArthur took the highest number of votes, polling 336.
Jay Farr, one of the aspirants for the seat vacated by Darren Taylor, who chose not to run, was next with 307 votes.
Stephen Johnson returned to council with 278 supporters, in spite of being in Vancouver for physiotherapy during the entire contest, and having been plagued with a poor telephone connection on the night of the forum, earlier in the week.
Bill Kendrick was also reelected, polling 263 votes. First time candidate Driss Adrao was not elected, but took a respectable 179 votes in the contest.
Both Kendrick and Adrao were on hand for the counting of the ballots when the doors of the Art ad Margaret Fry Recreation Centre were locked at 8 p.m. Thursday night.
The counting, also attended by new city manager André Larabie, this reporter, and Mayor Wayne Potoroka, took about 90 minutes from start to finish.
This campaign was interesting for being very low key. Potoroka led off with a series of ads in the Klondike Sun and on Facebook the week before nominations ceased, with most of the other candidates following suit in the next issue of the paper which, in addition to carrying their paid advertising, allowed each candidate the opportunity to craft his or her own direct appeal to the electorate.
Due to circumstances beyond his control, Adrao was unable to meet the paper’s deadline and so his promotion was strictly via social media.
It seems the urgency went out of the campaign once it was clear there would not be a mayoralty contest.
It proved to be difficult to schedule a candidates’ forum, partly due to a lack of staff at the Chamber of Commerce, which normally takes the lead on this event here. The city administration encouraged Across the River Consulting to take on the task on behalf of the chamber, and so a forum was held two days before the vote.
While it was broadcast on television, tweeted and turned into a podcast by CFYT-fm, the turnout of about 25 to 30 in council chambers was nothing compared to the 75 to 80 that filled the meeting room at the Robert Service School in 2012.
Equally low was the actual voter turnout. It’s been some time since any enumeration was done in the town, but a comparison of numbers from 2012 and 2015 is telling.
There were 38 at the advance poll this year and 9 special ballots, with another 346 people actually voting on the day. That’s a total of 393.
In 2012 541 people voted on election day, 70 in the advance poll, 10 by mail and another 37 whose ballots were taken to their homes to allow them to vote. That adds up to 658 voters.
In the election prior to that in 2009, 529 ballots were marked. This year’s turnout does not even match the low 398 voters to showed up to reinstate the town council at the end of the trusteeship in 2006, though it’s almost there.
What these two elections, nine years apart, have in common is the lack of a race for the mayor’s position.
Potoroka is a popular choice and there was obviously no one willing to challenge him for the job. But John Steins was the only applicant for the difficult task back in 2006. Now that Potoroka has succeeded without an opponent, it is likely that he will face the same taunt of “you weren’t really elected” that Steins had to face every time he did something that certain persons didn’t agree with.