I heard this being discussed the other night on CTV (I think, maybe it was Global News) but anyway, the topic has come up in regards to obligating Canadian citizens to vote, or perhaps face paying a Fine for not doing so. I'm not sure if they mean federal (MPs) or legislative (MLAs etc) or what.... but what do you think about it?
Here is an article from the Canada Free Press
The article states that Australia has compulsory voting and the fine is $20 for not voting. Most australians apparently support this. 20 bucks doesn't sound like much, but my concern is what happens next? How high could that fine go? Could people start getting fined for not voting at every level of govt?
I noticed that the article talks a lot about Alberta's low voter turnout in 2008. I can tell you right now that I did not bother voting in that one - I had moved but they still had my voter card registered at the school near my old house across town. I tried to vote at my children's school but I was turned away. I do not drive and was not going to take a bus that would end up making it 1.5 hours journey there and back just to sign a card in a city where the vast majority votes for the same party anyway. It was the same rep for both of the two schools I could have placed my vote in, so it ticked me off that I was turned away from the one a block from my house. It's not like I would have messed up the ridings lol. We only have 2 reps for MLA and one for MP so.... what's the big whoop about where you plllllace your bet, I mean, vote?
I just skimmed the article I linked to, but I didn't notice them listing another possible reason for a low turnout --- the same I mentioned above --- PCs coming out in a very big lead year after year. If the vast majority of the vote comes out PC, and the others are always far behind, is everyone going to rush to the polls to make sure the PC party gets in? Maybe it's laziness and an expectation that the PCs are going to win in Alberta by a landslide anyway so a lot of people don't bother to vote. Who knows...
Perhaps we should get more people involved, but fining them? Do we really want to go there? What do you think?
For example, in past Alberta elections, PCs took 61 seats in 2004 (compared to 17 Lib, 4 NDP, 1 AAP) and 72 in 2008 (compared to 9 Lib, 2 NDP). I can guess that people who support parties other than PC would be the ones rushing to the polls every year to try to get their numbers up here, or doing the opposite of thinking it's pointless so they don't even bother.
The CFP article gave PEI as an example of a very high voter turnout, but when you look back at their elections history, the tide swings back and forth between Lib and PC. In 2003, the popular vote had 23 PCs in the lead, and 4 Lib. But in 2007, the popular vote was completely opposite with 23 Lib and 4 PC leading. In 2000 it was 26 PC, 1 Lib, and in 1996 it was 18 PC, 8 Lib, 1 NDP. In Alberta there is less back and forth... but I will be interested to see what happens in the future with the WildRose Alliance gaining strength and popularity, or at least making more people take some interest. With the voter turnout be higher with a new player in the game?