Why Poor Voter Turnout

Pipestone Flyer

In Canada citizens have three major opportunities to express their opinions and to seek any changes in the way their lives are affected by government.  Unfortunately the turn out for municipal elections is the lowest of the three. Sixty percent of qualified voters will vote in federal elections and provincial elections will often draw over fifty percent, but often less than thirty percent will vote in civic elections. The civic election in 2010 saw less than 25% of eligible voters turned out to excise their duty to vote.

    The irony in this is that civic elections are the most democratic aspect of a democracy, but remains as the most neglected on voting day. Federal and provincial elections usually revolve around political parties and political machines that work hard to get out the vote to back their candidate. In civic elections political parties are usually missing and the candidates are well known members of your community and may even be your next door neighbor. Where provincial and federal elections often draw candidates that are high-powered lawyers or CEO’s of major companies civic elections attract candidates from all walks of life like teachers, newspaper reporters, or small business owners. 

    The decisions that federal or provincial governments make affect all of us, but, in many cases, it’s in a general way. Civic governments and the decisions they make can affect us immediately and often do. This is where our roads are maintained, when our garbage is picked up, and where our schools are built. Civic leaders live in our community 24/7 they do not do their business of the government in Edmonton or Ottawa they do it right here in Leduc. 

    During an election candidate signs seem to pop up like mushrooms they are everywhere! During a federal or provincial election there maybe three or four major candidates and the odd independent, but in a municipal election there maybe a dozen or more candidates. Currently Leduc has thirteen individuals who have thrown their hat into the ring to become one of six aldermen and two for mayor.  This results in a multitude of signs making their appearance all over the city. It maybe annoying at times, but for the most part this is the best way for a candidate to get their name before you and to remind you that an election is coming. At least one candidate has had the original idea of using a different type of sign from the normal rectangle one normally sees. I expect that future election signs may take on a different look if this candidate is successful in getting elected. Be assured that it is required these signs must be gone three days after the election.

    The purpose of the signs is to get you to go and vote and hopefully more than 24 percent of the 19,000 plus voters will do just that. After all in the last election the difference between the sixth and seventh place aldermen candidates was less than 200 votes or less than 1% of eligible voters.  If you can’t make it on Monday, Oct 21st to vote, advance polls are being held at the Lede Room at the Civic Centre today from 12pm to 8pm and on Saturday, Oct. 19th from 10am to 5pm. 

    This will be the only time for the next four years where you will have an opportunity to decide who the individuals will be who will make the vital decisions concerning Leduc’s future. Monday, Oct. 21st you will have in your hands the opportunity to determine who will make those decisions. Don’t waste this opportunity by leaving the decision to others. Get out and vote!