Saturday, October 9, 2010

Amalgamation May Help Get People Out to Vote

The fact that fewer than one in four vote in municipal elections is a problem. It is a problem caused by the fact that few care about a small community organization.

Think about how many people actually come out and vote for the directors or help organize community organizations such as BARA or the North Quadra Land Use Protection Association. As a percentage of the population it is very small.

Our municipalities are the same. They are in fact not much more than residential associations. The CRD deals with some of the bigger issues. This may be a bit exaggerated but the point is clear. Without a regional government which we all know affects the whole region, we are not going to get too excited about voting.

Instead of 91 elected representatives making in most cases a nominal part time income, there could be 12 full time positions paying a “living wage”.

That might create interest in the campaign.

If we want more interest in what the local government is doing and who is doing it, a step in the right direction will be to focus on fewer positions and without doubt fewer competent candidates.

An entire community focused on the same issues can create interest.

If you live in Saanich and work in Victoria with people from Langford, do you really care what the issues are in the Langford election? Not really. Are you going to talk about them, and encourage each other to get out and vote? No.

Now if we were all concerned about the same issues, we might just start all talking about them and in turn create community interest.

We do not have community interest because we are all blended together daily and yet are forced to have “different elections.” No one, not one person here can say they have no one in their lives that does not live in another city. Most of us have friends all over. This fact helps reduce the interest of everyone in an election. We have no common ground to talk about the issues and the candidates’ positions on them.

No promise here, but it is a good and reasonable bet that an amalgamated city or two will generate a somewhat higher interest in elections and participation by the electorate.


Anonymous said...

Highland and Metchosin regularly have the highest turnout,well over 70%. You suggest a large jurisdiction would encourage more voters when the facts show the compete reverse.

James said...

Yes, it may be that very small communities will have a high turn out, so does that mean the GVA should be divided into 40 cities? You will note that in View Royal, another very small community they have entire elections decided by acclamation. I personally do not think that is healthy.
As I said, no promise, but overall, for the region, I expect the overall numbers would increase.