It’s Municipal Election Day in Ontario. Are you voting today, or are you too busy and have no idea what’s going on?
Municipal Elections are probably where your vote counts the most, and yet historically voter turnout is generally very low for municipal elections. Under 20% of eligible voters cast a vote in our last municipal election and yet these are the politicians who most directly affect our every days lives by making decisions about the direction our City will take in the coming years.
The problem with Municipal elections is that if you want to be up to date on some of the on-going local issues, it’s a fair bit of work to include into your already very hectic life of just trying to make a living. You have to actually do some research to get to the bottom of some of the local issues facing your community council, plus we don’t really know the contenders who are as they don’t invest a lot of money into advertising to tell us their story…and a name on a lawn sign really doesn’t do much for telling you what their ideas or platforms are. In my Ward, I have heard of only one name in my local election district. I have no idea what they stand for and also no idea of who is contending against them and like many people I really don’t have the time to look it up. He did send me a nice card in the mail though. It’s not that I wouldn’t take the time to cast the ballot, but you feel a little silly standing in the voting booth looking at a list of names where you have no idea who these people are or what they stand for.
With federal and provincial elections, a lot of the issues get into the regular news cycle so at least you can follow along with the issues as you go about your daily routine. So, it’s little wonder the turnout is so poor on the Municipal level. We’d go out to cast a vote. We just don’t know for whom.