Why the low voter turnout?

If you voted in the provincial election that saw Doug Ford elected to a second straight majority, you were in the minority.
Preliminary numbers indicate only 43 per cent of us cast our ballots.
Doug Ford’s government is back in power with only 18 per cent of eligible voters actually marking “X” beside the name of the Conservative candidate in their riding.
It seems Ontario voters were so impressed with Ford’s leadership during COVID they saw no need for a change – or perhaps they simply could not bring themselves to vote NDP or Green, and the Liberal leader did not catch the interest of the general public.
In the weeks to come, there will be endless assessments conducted and theories bounced around about what happened.
In general, are people so satisfied with government in this province they saw no need to vote? Or are they so dissatisfied with government they saw no use in voting?
Whatever the reason for the low voter turnout, the majority of us said, in essence, that we chose not to be involved in the process of selecting this province’s decision makers.
What too many of us seem to have forgotten is that voting for government was never an inherent right even in Canada, but something that had to be fought for, and won, one battle at a time. The blood of many good people has been shed so we would have the right to choose our government – too precious a gift for us to squander it.
We seem to have fallen into the false and dangerous belief that good government – or good enough government – just happens, and voting can be left to those few who care.
Those who care include folks who regard voting as more than a privilege – it is one’s patriotic duty. There seem to be fewer of them in the new millennium. Unfortunately, those who care also include people who are angry and frustrated – and their numbers are growing.
To date, they have cast their votes for “none of the above.” It is unsettling to consider what could happen should they rediscover the democratic process of putting forward candidates and marking a “X” on a ballot.
A lot of time and effort was spent during the campaign leading up to Ontario election 2022, reaching out to voters. It would seem a strong message has been sent, that if we are to continue living in a democracy in which people choose their government, more time and effort needs to be devoted to reaching out to non-voters.
To get people voting, and for the right reasons, some parties have proposed proportional representation. This would replace our “first past the post” system with one that rewards parties that get a significant number of votes, with seats in government.
Some have proposed lowering the voting age to 16, to encourage younger people to get involved in politics.
There are occasional efforts to sanitize the public perception of politics as a somewhat distasteful game best played by the ethically-challenged. Perhaps more voters would become engaged in the process if there were fewer attack ads and more civility.
Meanwhile, Ontario’s two main opposition parties will be striving to find that magical candidate who is interesting enough to catch the public’s attention but who has no eye-popping photos or snippets of offensive audio lurking on the internet, ready to emerge like toxic mushrooms once a campaign begins.
Just a reminder – another campaign is in its early stages in this province, to choose the people who will become our municipal leaders. This is where a good many provincial and federal politicians get their start.
It will be interesting to see what trends emerge – if there are more candidates of diverse backgrounds, and greater public involvement.
That said, bravo to every candidate who ran in the provincial election. Bravo to everyone considering seeking public office in the upcoming municipal election.
And bravo to all who voted for democracy – through the simple act of voting.

Why the low voter turnout? was last modified: June 8th, 2022 by Tammy Schneider

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