Wandering ferns
Happy Canada Day

Getting the vote out

Looks like that in spite of the money Elections Canada spent to get us all out to vote, the continual coverage by all the media, and the closeness of the race, turnout was again only about 60%, down slightly since last time. Be interesting to see if the youth vote declined even more than before.
I checked my riding, Ottawa-Orleans - we had 74% turnout, which is pretty good. But it was a closely contested race - a strong Liberal area with a new candidate, and a Conservative candidate that seemed just too perfect and smug. I suspect a lot saw that their vote could make a difference here, and that the issues did affect them. Plus I'm sure the well oiled Conservative machine and their maxed out budget pulled in the vote all they could. And the Liberals too, although they didn't seem as strong a force.
I checked 4 other Ottawa ridings, all were around 70% turnout, all were fairly close races, except one, Otttawa-Vanier, where only 61% cast a ballot. That riding had a very strong Liberal presence, the final vote was twice the Conservative count.
Maybe if voters think their vote will have an effect, they get out and do something. Or maybe in a close area, "pulling" the vote is what causes the increase. A recent book, "Get Out the Vote! How to increase voter turnout" suggest that meaningful interaction, as in door-to-door canvassing, or pesonal phone calls, can increase turnout by 7 to 12 percent. Leaflets, email, and automated calls have virtually no effect.
For Elections Canada, mandatory registration would help, and would help clean up their records, but I don't think we would accept mandatory voting easily.
At the election, I think clear issues, well communicated, are a must have. In between, I hope the peak of political awareness we saw over the past few weeks doesn't slump back into apathy. Parliament is off for the summer, everyone is lazing around and taking in some holidays. in the fall we come back, kids into school, our reps all wander back into the House. Hopefully we will notice, and will care - I suspect a minority government will keep issues alive.
And in the political world of blogs, Jim Elve's e-group on Blogs Canada will morph into Multi-partisan Political Punditry. Stay tuned.


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