Scott Ross's Castanet Video

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ScottRoss
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Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by ScottRoss »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNTOrJY9V2k

This is a video I shot a few days ago and it will be appearing on Castanet in the days to come. If anyone has any questions or comments, I would enjoy talking about any policy or idea for Kelowna. My full platform can be viewed here: http://scottrossforkelowna.com/platform/

I would also like to ask this forum what it will take to increase voter turnout. Though I have been to thousands of doors, many saying they will vote, and we have a competitive race for mayor, I do worry we will have a turnout of 25-30%. How can we increase turnout?
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Relentless
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Relentless »

Online voting.....plain and simple.
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Fancy
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Fancy »

UltraViolet wrote:Online voting.....plain and simple.

Where else does that work?
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Pkunko »

Free beer
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Glacier
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Glacier »

ScottRoss wrote:I would also like to ask this forum what it will take to increase voter turnout. Though I have been to thousands of doors, many saying they will vote, and we have a competitive race for mayor, I do worry we will have a turnout of 25-30%. How can we increase turnout?


The short answer is we can't and we shouldn't. Read this post.

What's more important than voter turnout is citizen engagement. I've been to federal, provincial, and municipal candidate forums, and interestingly the municipal had a higher turnout than the federal and provincial ones combined. Much more. And yet, when the votes are counted the municipal election will have half the turnout as other levels of government. A smaller number informed voters is far more desirable than a large group of lackluster voters, in my opinion.
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by ScottRoss »

Fancy, over 40 municipalities across Canada are utilizing online voting, either for advance polls or for the whole election. In the first three cities to really experiment with online voting, Halifax, Peterborough and Markham, there was either a negligible impact on voter turnout or there was a sizeable increase. Studies acknlowedge there are many variables that make comparisons difficult; but I do see a number of benefits of online voting that would offer the fullest opportunity to allow as many people to vote as possible, such as 24 hour voting to allow those who perform shift work to vote and to allow those who have difficulty moving an opportunity to vote from their homes. It is interesting to note that in cities with large senior populations, voter turnout increased for that demographic with the adoption of online voting as there are many with accessiblity issues.
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by ScottRoss »

Glacier, I don't think we disagree. I do not think it is best to guilt anyone into voting or to use any other type of punishment or reward as inducement to vote. I do believe any barrier to voting should be reduced and perceptions that voting is an arduous task should be challenged.

I see where you are coming from in your previous point of having only an informed or concerned electorate vote, but I would reference Aristotle to suggest that in only having the greatest turnout possible does a city ensure the truest and best result. His argument of the golden mean is a powerful one, he suggests that majority opinions from small groups often lead to extremes, whereas the larger the population in which a majority opinion is derived, the more likely it is to be moderate, stable and representative.

But like I said, I agree with no incentive or punishment to induce voting, but I am interested in hearing in more detail about how you would, I pressume, argue against a fine for not voting, similar to Australia's current policy.
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Glacier »

I agree with what you that higher voter turnout is desirable. The difference is mostly semantics, in that I prefer to rephrase the question from "how can we boost voter turnout" to "how can we boost civic knowledge".

The reason we have low voter turn-out is because people either feel disenfranchised with the system, apathetic toward the issues, or they're clueless about history and civics. All of these reasons and excuses are a mirages that stem for a lack of knowledge. We need to get people informed and engaged first - well before the election is on the horizon. A person who understands the issues, the process, and the historical context of such a privilege will more than likely vote.

I'm not sure how we accomplish this, but I know that when my parents were kids they had a subject in school called civics, a subject that went a long way toward producing active voters. Quite possibly, there is no cure at all. Certainly voter apathy has been around as long as democracy. The Australians brought it in 1924 to combat the problem, but it's up for debate as to whether or not they did the right thing.

As for mandatory voting in general, I'm not a fan. First of all, I believe voting is a civil right, not a civic duty. Second, it has the potential to discriminate against religious groups (namely JWs). Third, mandatory voting appeals to the lowest common denominator in that advertising becomes more important than substance. ie. you're trying to appeal to a large group of disinterested voters who will likely for the guy with the flashiest ads.

Fourth, let's say 10 of us are lost a sea on a boat. You say we should go one way and John says we should go the other, but since neither of you is all that sure, we decide to conduct a vote. Now, I've watched your videos and read your bio, and you seem like a knowledgeable guy who wouldn't just come up with a random statement so I vote for you. The other 7 guys are completely clueless, so they abstain. Should they be forced to vote? I think not.
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by ScottRoss »

I am really enjoying this discussion. You are right it was just semantics because I agree with everything you said.

I am a big believer of a civics course in our middle or high schools and have recommended this to our MLA. Norm Letnick is looking into it and I really hope it is endorsed by the provincial government.

I am against mandatory voting because it isn't democracy, it's actually counter to one of the fundamental principles underlying our society, and that is individual free will. Though I value social involvement through government management of our legal system, military, healthcare, education and many other spheres, I believe our society is strongest when that government, when that society is formed from many individuals who care enough to act to better it. Our country is in trouble when the inspiration to improve it only comes from artificial entities or by threats of punishment.

For your last argument regarding the boat, it is a powerful example, and I agree with your conclusion 100%; but to be the devil's advocate, not everyone is clueless about candidates for council and if mandatory voting was imposed there would be a probable turnout of around 90% (extrapolating Australia's turnout), would that not provide some likelihood of quality candidates being chosen? And would that high turnout not motivate greater engagement by candidates if they want to get elected?

I only ask to learn your opinion and how you would respond, as I stated I am against such a mandatory measure.
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by Glacier »

Yes, you're right in that not everyone is clueless. However, at the municipal level, I believe most voters are like the 7 men abstaining in the boat. In the last municipal election Kelowna had 19% turnout; by comparison federal and provincial turnout numbers are always well in excess of 50%. I have not done any research as to why the the difference exists, but I suspect it's because most people are agnostic about local politics.

Would mandatory voting improve the quality of elected candidates? In my view, no, but I suppose it depends on one's definition of quality. Mandatory voting would likely produce a more diverse counsel with more fringe candidates.

Would mandatory voting motivate greater engagement by candidates if they want to get elected? No, it would encourage them to put more emphasis on advertising and less emphasis on actual policies since there would be a higher percentage of voters who vote based on soundbites and perceptions.

The only valid argument I can think of in favour of mandatory voting would be the one that assumes an electorate forced to vote would be more apt to educate themselves before voting day. I suspect that this is not the case, but I lack the empirical data to back up my supposition. Even if I'm wrong here, the negatives still far outweigh the positives when it comes to mandatory voting.
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ScottRoss
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Re: Scott Ross's Castanet Video

Post by ScottRoss »

Glacier as you alluded to the arguments for and against mandatory voting involve at least some subjectivity.

Your point about mandatory voting increasing the amount candidates advertise is a strong one and I think that would be true. I also think it would make other tasks like doorknocking more appealing to candidates as there would be more of a payoff at each door, as currently the chances are only 1 in 5 doors will have a voter behind them.

Your last point is interesting and I would suggest people would attempt to get to know the candidates if they were forced to choose between them. I don't think this would happen 100% of the time but my sense is it would happen more often than not.

It may appear I am arguing for mandatory voting, but I'm not. I am only using arguments that I've had put to me and that I think have some validity for the purpose of a meaningful discussion which you have supplied. I oppose mandatory voting on broader grounds which we have discussed, and that is democracy cannot be forced, through war or through penalty.

I often think of democracy in terms of Clockwork Orange, in that mandatory voting offers the appearance of democracy but it is false because underneath it, it is but mechanical. What makes democracy worthwhile is not the fact that people vote, but that people care, voting is the manifestation of that care. To impose mandatory voting is to severe caring for ones city or country and to replace it with caring about being penalized.

My argument does not eliminate the fact that mandatory voting could make people care about their city or country, but it still questions the initial motive behind it and what consequences it would have long-term.

In the end I believe the question that must be asked of mandatory voting is whether we should make people care by forcing them to. My answer is no.

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