Editorial 

Get out and vote

"To make democracy work, we must be a nation of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain."

Louis L'Amour, U.S. writer 1908 -1988.

 

"People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing."

Walter H Judd, U.S statesman 1898-1994

 

"Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote."

George Jean Nathan U.S. drama critic and editor 1882- 1958

 

Get out and vote

 

Over the last few weeks Pique has received many letters-to-the-editor urging people to vote.

Some have come from organizations, some from politically active Canadians and others from local residents.

Each time they come into my email box I read them and think about the idea that people have to be reminded to vote, or even urged to.

It seems even more incongruous when you consider what has been going on around the world as many people struggle against various types of governments for civil rights.

Over the years as a reporter I have lost count of the various elections I have written news stories about - I have also lost count of the number of news stories I have written about low voter turn out.

Though government records are not perfect one the highest voter turnouts came with our first election in 1867 - 73.1 per cent.

The lowest turnout was last time around in 2008 when only 58.8 per cent of eligible people voted. Canada is ranked 16th out of 17 peer countries in voter turnout according to Elections Canada.

A survey done by Elections Canada after the last federal election sought to find out why voter turnout was so low and the most common reason cited was "everyday situations." In other words people were on holiday, too busy or had family and/or work obligations.

Another major reason given is the low participation of young voters - it is this that lies behind the push by Elections Canada to change legislation to allow online registration of voters by 2013.

But surely voting, indeed the whole campaigning process, also needs to be made more meaningful for first time voters, it must be relevant to young voters and it must engage them.

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