Mandatory voting?

The voter turnout for this federal election is said to be lower than ever at 59%.

Canadians stayed away from the polling stations in record numbers Tuesday, reinforcing an international trend of steady decline attributed to voter malaise, mistrust of politicians, and a feeling that the election outcome was a foregone conclusion.

Almost 10 million voters – just over 40 per cent of those eligible – stayed home instead of heading to the ballot box on a balmy October day to exercise their democratic right.

The 59.1 per cent tally was almost six per cent lower than it was in the winter of 2006, when 64.7 per cent of potential voters cast ballots in an election that ended 13 years of Liberal rule.

A variety of reasons are posited for this:

Voter turnout this week was lowest in Newfoundland, where many Tories may have stayed home rather than defy a strong “anything-but-Conservative” campaign launched by Premier Danny Williams in the latest salvo in his ongoing feud with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

We could believe that given the intimidation that went on.

We don’t think a pink campaign would do for Danny’s bullies– Elections Canada should investigate.

But that doesn’t explain the drop elsewhere.

Alberta experienced the second-worst numbers, with the northern, transient boom town of Fort McMurray drawing fewer voters per capita than anywhere else in the country, at 36 per cent.

“There’s a significant lack of competition in Alberta and there’s a feeling your vote is not going to make a difference,” said Harold Jansen, a University of Lethbridge political scientist. [link]

That may be the case in Kings-Hants where Brison was probably considered a shoe in. Turnout here at 58.9% was less than both the national and provincial average

Or it may be that it was because there were problems at the polls over the simple instructions about proving identity [Elections Canada’s workers seem to have been poorly instructed] . But then turnout was better in some places.

In this week’s election, turnout was highest in Prince Edward Island at 69.5 per cent. The riding of Malpeque led the country, with almost 73 per cent of voters casting ballots.

Ontario votes were the same as the national average of 59.1 per cent, while B.C. and Quebec were both above average, at 61 per cent.

The Yukon had the highest turnout among the territories, with 63.7 per cent of registered voters making the trip to the ballot box. [link[

It is suggested that voting should be mandatory, as it is in some countries such as Australia. You can probably guess where we would stand on that but the question gives us a chance to test out a new wordpress feature! So here’s a poll for our readers.

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