Ontarians should not be
surprised at record low voter turnout in provincial election
Voting system, failure of Elections
Ontario to inform voters of right to decline their
early fixed election date, and lack of key promises
for more democratic elections and government, are
likely reasons for decline
Friday, October 7,
- Today, Democracy Watch called for democratic
changes to Ontario's political system in response to
the clear crisis of record low voter turnout in the
provincial election. Initial results show that
the Ontario Liberals have won 53 of 107 seats with the
support of only 18.4% of eligible voters.
“With just under half of
eligible voters casting ballots yesterday, the
lowest in Ontario’s history, alarm bells should be
going off and questions raised about the legitimacy
of the provincial government,” said Tyler
Sommers, Coordinator for Democracy Watch. "Voter turnout will go
back up if the voting system is changed, if
Elections Ontario does it job properly and informs
Ontarians of their right to decline their ballot, if
the fixed election date is pushed back to late
October, and if the parties make promises to end
undemocratic elections and government."
In addition, if the parties strengthened provincial ethics, political finance, lobbying, open government, and whistleblower protection laws, voters would have more reason to vote because they would be more assured of good government no matter which party won.
"More and more voters know from their experience of the past few decades of elections that they are not going to get what they vote for, and are likely to get dishonest, secretive, unethical, unrepresentative and wasteful government no matter who they vote for, and as a result no one should be surprised to see voter turnout dropping lower and lower,” said Duff Conacher, Founding Director of Democracy Watch.
These problems exist in all the provinces and territories across Canada. All of these changes should be made by the federal and provincial and territorial governments, and for their municipalities, before either mandatory or Internet voting are tried (because both of those have likely serious negative effects).
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FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Tyler Sommers, Coordinator of Democracy Watch
Duff Conacher, Founding Director of Democracy Watch
Tel: (613) 241-5179
© 2011 Democracy Watch