Elections

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Lady tehMa
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Elections

Post by Lady tehMa »

We have just had our civic election. Tempers and rhetoric have been at an all time high (or so it seems to me). I will be focusing on this one as an example, but we need not limit ourselves to this election; feel free to bring in examples from Provincial, Federal or world sources.

Walter Gray originally lost to Sharon Shepherd. Then she won another term, this time less people turned out to vote than the first time. Now Walter Gray has apparently staged a comeback, with higher voter numbers than when he originally lost. (I can't seem to find the links that gave the numbers but I'm only on my first coffee of the day; corrections are welcome).

The election was also quite close.

These higher voter numbers indicate that more of the population is becoming engaged, care about the outcome. Yet they are not a large portion of our voting population; 30 odd percent if I'm not mistaken?

My questions are thus:

How can we get more people to care, get engaged and do their research and make their choices? The mandatory vote has been discussed, and does not seem to be a viable option (though, if you think it would work I would be interested in seeing the reasoning).

Why do people get so very angry when their candidate does not win? In this slate, not very many of the people I chose as "my" candidates got in. Yet I was prepared for this, was aware that my vote was just one of many and that other people have other priorities. I am prepared to see where the next 3 years takes us, and make my next decisions based on that.

Why was this campaign in particular so very negative? One of the worst I've seen. Shepherd and Gray supporters were particularly bad, but it wasn't limited to them. What brings out this ugly side of human nature?

I figure R&P is a safe place for this topic, it is a fairly charged one and I am looking to see if anyone can help me analyze this phenomenon.
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Glacier
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Re: Elections

Post by Glacier »

I suppose 33% can be considered small when compared to the voting records of smaller towns - Lumby with about1800 people had 52% and the even smaller village of McBride had more than 75% voter turnout, but 33% is still 70% higher than last election. (See my election chart for more details).

Disengagement will always be around, but I don't think that's the main reason for low voter turnout in civic elections. I know a lot of people (namely in Vernon) who didn't vote, not because they didn't care, but because they were agnostic with their choices. Why vote when you have no preference? I would argue that even though voter turnout is lower at the municipal level, voter engagement is actually higher than it is provincially (you've probably read my argument, so I won't expound).

I think you also know my views on mandatory voting (fourth paragraph).

Why do people get angry when their candidate doesn't get in? I have not read more than a couple dozen posts in the C.E. 2011 section, so I'm likely not informed enough about the anger, but in my view, anger is largely based on who did gets in as opposed who didn't get in. Unlike a lot of mayoral races that turn in popularity contest, Kelowna's race was about opposing philosophies. Having someone getting elected that you view as dangerous or destructive would likely induce anger and dismay.

Why was this election so negative? Ha, I'm glad I don't live in Kelowna!
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Homeownertoo
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Re: Elections

Post by Homeownertoo »

Question 1: I have no idea, and I appear to be in good company. This question of low voter turnout, especially at municipal elections, would actually make a good academic research topic. In fact, it probably has been done many times. It would be worth finding such papers.

Questions 2 and 3: Why do people get angry? I think we saw some heated discussion this time because of the polarized positions on this issue of downtown development. Each side, but particularly the SS side (anti-Gray), was particularly vehement and personal in their views, perhaps afraid the stakes were too high in the event of a loss.

You don't often see such polarization and personalization of issues at the municipal level. You do see it in the US, particularly at the federal level the past few years, where it is characterized as a culture war, and to a lesser degree at the Canadian federal level. Perhaps some of that modelling of electoral politics is filtering down as acceptable in the municipal political process.

I watch the US federal scene quite closely and notice the free rein given to venting of hatreds, by both sides but particularly from the Left (as opposed to simply left-of-centre liberals who tend to be more restrained), where opponents are caricatured in very repugnant terms. Clinton faced some of that from the right, but Bush and Obama have been the objects of especially abusive behavior.
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Glacier
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Re: Elections

Post by Glacier »

I've done a little research and have noticed that the smaller the community, the higher the voter turnout. Therefore, as we become more and more urbanized, voter turnout will drop even if voter apathy has not. When I say that voter apathy has not dropped, I'm talking apples to apples (ie tracking voter trends within the same socioeconomic group).

There are less and less people living in the smaller communities relative to the large cities, so as the chart below shows, voter participation has to drop if all else stays the same.

The following chart takes a look at every single municipality within BC that had an election in 2011, and compares voter turnout to the size of the municipality.

VoterturnoutSIZE.png


The next assignment is to figure out why larger communities vote less often.
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Lady tehMa
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Re: Elections

Post by Lady tehMa »

Cool graph Glacier . . .

Perhaps a sense of disconnect in the larger communities? In a smaller community you might feel more that your vote would make a difference.
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