10/22/2013 01:42 EDT | Updated 10/22/2013 01:43 EDT

High River Municipal Election 2013 Sets Voter Turnout Record


Motivated by their still-devastated town following the June flood, voters in the town of High River rushed to cast ballots during Monday's civic elections.

The very real and recent destruction, the sense of being powerless and their distrust for all levels of government drove thousands of High River residents to vote and to reach record levels of voter turnout.

According to CBC, nearly 4,000 voters cast ballots in the High River contest, marking a 61 per cent voter turnout record for the town.

Hundreds of voters now living outside their communities after taking up residence in two temporary neighbourhoods following the flood - Saddlebrook, north of High River and Great Plains, south Calgary - were either bused to polling stations in the town or provided with out-of-town polling stations.

And the message they sent was strong one.

High River's mayor during the disaster, Emile Blokland, is not running for re-election, choosing instead to run for a seat in council.

Current councillor Jamie Kinghorn and businessman Craig Lyle Snodgrass were the two candidates running for the position of mayor, but it would be Snodgrass who won the vote and is set to become High River's next mayor.

Although long lineups were recorded at polls through the day, Global Calgary reports massive lines persisted even after the 8 p.m. closing of the polls.

The flood, and government's response to it, is what motivated so many residents to come out and vote, added Global Calgary.

Home to 13,000 residents, High River is located just south of the Calgary.

An estimated 60 per cent of the town was under water following the flood, which resulted in most of the town being evacuated.

What followed were weeks of of High River residents saying they were being kept in the dark about relief and rebuilding efforts and of accepting their community was changed forever that hundreds of homes were lost and that town administration was ill-equipped to deal with the disaster.

Nine days after the deluge, town council had to relinquish administrative control of the town to the province.

It's possible that as many as 2,000 may still be displaced.