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Early October federal and provincial fixed voting days shut out people with kids, and university and college students

Four provincial legislatures should open for one day to push back election days to end of October

As in Ontario, all governments in Canada should also allow voters to vote "none of the above"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

OTTAWA -  Today, Democracy Watch called on the Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island governments to open the legislature for one day in the next week to pass a bill that would make their provincial elections much more democratic by pushing the fixed-date election day to the last Monday in October (or early November, as in Saskatchewan which is also having a fixed date election this fall (and many provinces also use early November for their fixed election date for municipal elections)).


These four provinces (and the federal Conservatives for federal elections) set their fixed-date election days for every four years in early October.  People with children in school spend the first few weeks of September very busy with setting up their childrens' fall schedules, and so don't have time to participate in the election campaign or even watch it closely.


University and college students are also very busy the first few weeks of September, and also if they move from their hometown for school they often have no proof that they live in their school's location until mid-October, and so they are shut out from voting.


"Politicians in these four provinces should want to increase voter turnout, and so they should take one day this week to meet and push back their fixed election dates to late October to give parents and post-secondary students more of a chance to participate in their elections and to vote," said Duff Conacher, Founding Director of Democracy Watch.  "There is no reason to have an election so early in the fall in these four provinces, as it is very unlikely that severe weather would significantly disrupt a later election date."

New Brunswick should also push its fixed election day back from late September to late October.  As well, British Columbia's fixed election date is in early May, and it should also be changed because that is a time of year many university and college students are very busy and/or moving.

The Northwest Territories also fixed its election date for every four years in early October.  However, it makes more sense because of the likelihood of severe weather later that month in that part of Canada.  This time of year also makes sense as a recommended date for, as it should, the Yukon Territory to use when it passes a law fixing its election dates.

The other provinces, Alberta, Québec, Nova Scotia, should also fix their elections dates for every four years in late October.

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Duff Conacher, Board member of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179

Democracy Watch's Ontario Election 2011 page

To see related Democracy Watch op-ed, click here

To see Democracy Watch's Fixed Election Date page, click here


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© 2011 Democracy Watch