(Alternate Title: Voter Turnout – SHOW THE F UP!)
In light of the recent Municipal Election, I’ve swapped my law student hat for my political hat, and I decided to write this week’s blog on the importance of voter turnout and participation.
The Association of Municipalities Ontario reported that out of 10,707,112 eligible voters, only 33% voted. Generally speaking, voter turnout for municipal elections is often lower.
Who cares about the municipality, Meriam?
Well, your municipality is responsible for your roads, your parks, your garbage collection, local land use planning, emergency services and so much more. Even though it doesn’t seem as big as a federal election, it still matters.
Why is this even important, Meriam?
It’s indicative of a larger issue. This means that 66% of the population in Ontario didn’t get the chance to decide for themselves who will lead their municipality or what will happen in them. 66% of the population put that choice in the hands of the 33%.
I only care to vote at the Federal Elections, Meriam.
Good for you! However, according to Elections Canada, only 62.6% of eligible voters voted at the federal level in September 2021.
Research has shown that those who do turn up to vote are often older and wealthier, thus creating a need to encourage younger people and those with more diverse backgrounds to vote. With voter turnout being what it is, we end up having a huge portion of the population’s interests unrepresented through voting, while other groups have a greater opportunity to have their interests represented.
I myself am guilty of not showing up. While I usually do exercise my right to vote, in the recent municipal election, I simply went home after work and forgot to vote.
Don’t be like me – go out and VOTE!
Meriam Noori, LLB