I didn’t get home Election Night until close to 4:00 AM the following morning. That was because I stayed at Town Hall during the process of releasing the tally numbers to the public. I then got home and found I had to respond to some messages that were waiting for me. I got about 90-minutes sleep and was up early so that my wife and I could get on the road to meet a previous commitment. Last night I slept about 13-hours – very unusual for me. So, this morning I find myself still processing what has happened. I’m shaking my head trying not to overdo my thoughts on the final results. Instead, I want to share with you the results from my perspective.
The Evening of ‘The Count’
There was a social event set up at Town Hall in the Council Chambers for Candidates (and spouses/partners) along with the Media. The doors opened at 7:30 PM Election Night and we were treated to some snacks and allowed access to the partial ballot totals as they were coming in. I was actually nervous when I went in and felt anxious for about the first hour I was there. It was the first time during the entire election campaign I had this feeling.
During the evening, assorted Candidates and wives/partners arrived and once the numbers started to come in things were beginning to become very clear. The Advance Poll totals were nothing short of amazing. A total of 302 voters had participated and the voting results at that point were very incredible. I was happy to see myself sitting at 4th place out of 15 Candidates and that calmed me down.
When the second set of Ballot Boxes were tallied, I had jumped up to 3rd place and pretty much lost any sense of anxiety. In fact, by this time, and it was already very late into the evening, I was feeling pretty good about how the election was going. A number of the Candidates who had come into the Council Chambers to experience the evening had decided at this point to go elsewhere for the rest of the count.
The third set of Ballot Boxes saw me slide back down to 4th place and the margins got a lot tighter on either side of my tally. While that didn’t get me too worked up, I did start preparing myself mentally for resuming my present life as a freelance writer who tried his best to seek a seat on Town Council. I was already kind of writing ‘thank you’ notes in my head, patted myself on the back for trying, and noted it was well into the next day already.
I ended up being the only person there with the two election officials (Cheryl and Carrie) for about the last two hours of the evening. The final Mayor Ballot Box totals had come in and we waited, and waited for the final Councillor numbers to be available. It was at 3:39 AM when I posted them online. I had been elected to Town Council finishing with the 4th Councillor seat.
The Gift The Voters Have Given Me
Aside from voting to support me, which I truly appreciate and thank each of you for doing, the group of individuals I have been blessed to work with over the next four years is nothing short of amazing to me. The mayor-elect is Spencer Coyne. Not only is he a friend, the two of us have known each other for decades and have worked together in the Media for a number of years. I know where his heart is and I cannot say enough about the passion he has for family, tradition and progress.
The group of Councillors-elect I get to share the table with is equally as incredible from my point of view. Barb Gould and I have a lengthy friendship that dates back several years. Her experience in the Administrative department in Town Hall in her previous career will be a huge asset. I don’t know Tyler Willis well just yet but I know his family and his background. There is no doubt that he and I are going to get along well. I’ve known Randy McLean for as long as I’ve lived in Princeton. He has accomplished a great deal in the many roles he has played on and off Town Council.
The ‘Thank You’ Part
Before I get too far I need to say Thank You to the other Candidates. I purposely launched my campaign on January 1, 2018 with hopes of encouraging other community members to step up. I did not expect so much interest. At one point there were 4 Mayoral Candidates and 16 vying for the four Councillor seats. I expected the numbers to be far less than that but was encouraged just the same.
Plus, I think I may have made a few new friends out of the list of Candidates. The Town of Princeton (and Area H) is home to some very talented people. I hope that some of the Candidates can continue to play active roles in the community as I would hate to see some of these talents go to waste.
To the Incumbents: Thank you for your dedication to Princeton and the people who call Princeton home. There is no doubt there have been difficult decisions to make – as there always will be – and each of you has much to be proud of. Thank you Frank, Doug, Rosemary, Jerome and Kim. You have all given the new Town Council a lot to ponder. Thank you for your service.
To the people ‘working’ the Election: There were a lot of people involved in keeping the Municipal Election running smoothly and in accordance with guidelines set by Elections BC. I thank all of them for the long hours they put into this election. That includes the Advance Poll and on General Election day. I’m sure no one expected it to be such a long process this time around. My thanks also go to the individual Candidate Scrutineers. Your dedication to monitoring the process cannot go unnoticed. Thank you for being there.
I can’t wait to get to work with this awesome team the voters of Princeton have assembled and chosen me to be a part of. I have truly been blessed with being grouped together with four amazing individuals you have appointed to push Princeton into the future. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve you. Thank you for your support. Thank you, Princeton for putting together what I think is going to be a winning team.
Before I moved to Princeton in 1986 I could probably count the number of hours I had ‘given away’ as a volunteer on one hand. That changed considerably shortly after I became a member of this community. I was elected to the Vice President seat on the Princeton & District Chamber of Commerce. It was a slightly bigger job than I had anticipated at the time but thankfully there were other volunteers around.
I had the good fortune of working with Roberta Baron and we managed to get a lot of things done out of what was the Chamber Office at the time – the Caboose. It sat on the grounds in front of the Museum building on Vermilion Avenue. My present Chamber of Commerce ‘team’ includes Brenda Crawford, Joyce Edwards, Bruce Read and Ingrid Gauw. I have always been somewhat fortunate to be grouped together with people I can learn from in any setting.
Town Council Provided Direction
Mayor Gloria Stout was a source of inspiration to me from my very first meeting with her. I sat in Town Council meetings and saw how her heart was firmly in place with all things related to Princeton as her top priority. Over my years as a local member of the media, I have attended well over 400 regular Town Council meetings. The manner in which they were conducted, helped me mold the approach I took chairing meetings of the groups I became involved with.
Other Mayors I enjoyed having to work with as part of my work (radio then newspaper) and as a volunteer included John ‘Smudge’ Rubis, John Stinson, Keith Olsen and Randy McLean. I would spend hours pouring over agendas, meeting minutes and other documents to try to learn the mechanics of local politics. Lucky for me, I had a lot of access to information and could find out what I needed or could ask questions for clarification – sometimes during a meeting.
Laurie Currie Got The Ball Rolling
But it all had to start somewhere. If I were to pin the it on anyone who pushed me to get involved in my community, it would be Laurie Currie. He hired me to assume the role of Assistant Manager at the local radio station and it was that job that lured me away from the radio gig I had in Penticton. He and I hit it off quickly and he was a great mentor to me. I may not have listened to all of the things he shared with me but there was one that I followed.
Currie told me that I had to do what is commonly referred to in today’s world as networking. In his mind, the best way to do that in Princeton was to get involved in a local non-profit organization or two. Looking back on it, I’m so glad I followed his advice. You have probably seen the road up by the PXA Grounds with the name of ‘Laurie Currie Way’ on it. I was the person who approached Town Council following Currie’s death and suggested the tribute.
Princeton Racing Days Involvement
Currie was also the guy who pulled me into the activities at the PXA Grounds. First, I became Princeton Racing Days President in 1990 and soon after, I was also Princeton Exhibition Association President. I learned a lot about agricultural and equestrian activities I had little knowledge about prior to that involvement. It also exposed me to some great volunteers within our community who truly had passion in their veins for whatever they did.
While involved in Racing Days I got to work with Bob and Ev Beale (I suggested naming the Tulameen Cup the Bob Beale Memorial Tulameen Cup soon after his passing), Glenn Sellers, Dennis Cook, Dawn Johnson, Fred Heck and Ed Vermette to name just a few. With the PXA I worked with Ernie Willis, Linda Allison, Harold Allison, George Armstrong and Stan Thompson. Stan was always difficult to get an invoice from for the work he would do at the track as he always felt it was his contribution. I remember making headway at one PXA meeting where Stan decided that as long as we provided enough to cover fuel, we didn’t owe him anything else. Sometimes a cup of coffee was sufficient. I learned in a hurry that things got done with the right people in place.
Princeton Crisis Assistance Was Rewarding
I sat on several non-profit boards and continue to. One of the most rewarding experiences for me was when I was the Vice President of the Princeton Crisis Assistance Society. I worked with President Ted Worthington for many years in that group. Earl Driver was another stand-out member. I was involved when the decision was made to set up a storefront location for the group. Originally it was located where Fields is now, and eventually moved to its present location. The ‘Crisis Store’ generated a good chunk of the revenue needed to finance the annual Christmas Hamper Drive when I was part of the group. It still makes me proud to see that store.
My volunteer work has included the Princeton & District Museum & Archives Society which put me to work alongside some very special people including Evelyn McCallum, Rika Ruebsaat, Shirley Freding and Marjorie Holland. With my work as the Chairman of the Granite Creek Preservation Society, I have had the pleasure of working together with Bob & Diane Sterne, Ole Juul and Chris Goodfellow. I am certain that I have forgotten some key players but that is not intentional.
What I Learned From Volunteering
Well, the obvious thing to me is that if it weren’t for volunteers in Princeton and area, we’d be a pretty sad little town. Many of the public facilities we enjoy in our community would never have been built without the contributions of local volunteers.
The second thing I discovered was that many of the local celebrations we have hosted in and around our community would not take place without volunteers. There was a time when Racing Days weekend had no less than six different events hosted by different non-profit organizations all working together to build the character of our community.
Thirdly, I have to admit that although my father always used to tell me that my “time is worth money” I learned from volunteering in Princeton that the time is well spent doing good things for others. That in itself makes the hours used for volunteering more valuable than an hourly rate.
I also learned that I have either been able to enhance some of my skills, or I have picked up auxiliary skills from volunteering. While I usually prefer to sit as a table director on most of the groups I have joined, I have learned to better understand processes required to do things properly.
One more thing I discovered as a volunteer was that it is a great way to meet people. Laurie Currie was bang on when he said it would be good to ‘network’ and make some lasting connections within the community. If you are new to town, get involved. It will make you friends.
Lastly, and probably most importantly, the other volunteers I have spent time with over the past 32 years have helped to shape my character. I have learned a great deal about myself and what capabilities I actually have. The great people I have worked with and continue to work with get much of the credit for helping me to become the community member I am today. I am not afraid to serve my community and have done so in many different capacities. This municipal election presents another potential form of service. On October 20, remember to choose those you wish to have serving you as the leaders of your community.
It goes by many different names. You may know it as advance polling or pre-poll voting. Essentially it is an early voting opportunity. The process of advance polling is that is gives voters in any public election a day to cast their ballots before the scheduled election day. Typically the advance polling day is ten days prior to Election Day.
In my younger years I seem to recall that advance polling was more or less meant to give people who may be out of town on voting day, or unable to get to the polling station due to some other reason a chance to still have their vote recorded. I can tell you that in many of the local, provincial and federal elections that have happened over the past several years, my wife, Brenda, and I have taken advantage of the advance polling date to vote.
We did that earlier today, as a matter of fact.
But why would anyone vote early in any election if you are going to be in town or otherwise able to attend the polling station on Election Day? Well, here are a few reasons that get Brenda and I out on the advance polling date.
1 – To Get It Over With
I know, this municipal election is very different for me as I am a candidate. However, in our household we discuss voting strategy – sometimes at great length. It is because of our belief in exercising our franchise and using our right to vote that we take it so seriously. It also means that if we vote in the advance polling opportunity, we can quit talking about the election and focus on other things.
2 – It Eliminates Last-Minute Second Thoughts
Going into this election Brenda and I already had a bit of an idea who would get our votes. In other words, we had a ‘short list’ of potential candidates to support. We paid attention to online performance, listened to what was said at the all-candidates forum and asked others around us for insight. In other words, we did our homework. With all of this decided, prior to going to the advance polling station, we had another discussion and firmed up our choices. Then we voted.
3 – We Missed The Crowd – Sort Of
The advance polling station this morning was already open about four hours when we got to it. There were two voters ahead of us and we went through quickly. Brenda was Voter #65 and I was Voter #66. As we left, we noticed a line had formed and extended out to the street. There was a time when advance voting got you through the polling station fast and without much of a wait. However, the popularity of voting early has more or less ‘caught on’ and more voters are taking advantage of the opportunity. So, we missed a crowd ahead of us, I guess.
4 – Nothing Can Influence Us Now
The best thing about voting in an advance poll is that if something big happens – you know, like a scandal of some kind – we won’t be changing our vote. For some people, this is the reason they will use to defend the position of waiting for Election Day to vote. It’s a good reason if you are still trying to decide and I have done this myself. However, in our house this time around, we weren’t going to wait to cast our ballots.
5 – We Can Say We’ve Done Our Part For The Future of Princeton
I know, that sounds a bit hokey, but in reality, anyone who votes in this municipal election will be contributing to the direction our community is going to go. It really is a big deal when you think about it. Every four years you, me, Brenda and every other eligible voter gets to put our collective minds together and say who we want to see moving the community ahead. If you didn’t vote during the advance polling opportunity, I hope you still plan on voting on October 20.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.