Older voters vote all the time – so part of this message is not for you. But you need to pass along the message that voting is important to our future. All our futures. No doubt, you could identify at least three people in your immediate circle who do not vote. As direct consequence of which, voter turnout across Canada is at all time lows.
Voter turnout in the 2011 Ontario election was a record low 48.2% of eligible voters, the first time in history that turnout dropped below 50%. The turnout in the 2011 federal election was 61%. The turnout in Quebec this year was a new high of 71% – not surprising with sovereignty at issue.
So what does it take to convince the non-voters in your circle to vote -in any election! Regardless of the position they want to take – even if their choice cancels out your vote!
You already know why it’s important to vote and you have given us feedback about the policy issues that matter to you. CARP has pressed for these; many have become election issues! So to finish the job, your vote – and that of your family and friends – is what’s needed to make those promises a reality.
The Democracy Education Network, working closely with Democracy Watch, is building a campaign to encourage better voter turnout and lists some arguments at on their website that you could use [please see below].
Their website invites you to sign a pledge to get three non-voters to vote, it can be found at: http://votepromise.ca/?page_id=10
Or you could just do it. If voter turnout across the country is on average barely 50%, maybe 60% to be generous. And 65% or more of older voters vote regularly and virtually 100% of CARP members vote all the time, who do you suppose makes up the bulk of the voter turnout? If every one of CARP’s 300,000 members got 3 new voters to the polls, we’d potentially quadruple the voter turnout in this country. A real win for democracy and more clout to resist the attacks on our franchise.
Offer to make dinner for the three non-voters in your circle and then go out to the polling station together. Bake a cake. Nag them by text or on Facebook. Whatever works for you. Just please, get out the vote. And if you are successful, tell us how you did it! Email us at: [email protected]
Thanks in advance!
From the Democracy Education Network’s Vote Promise
NOTE: By “vote” we mean show up at a voting station and vote for a candidate, or cast a blank ballot or mark your ballot however you want to mark it, or refuse your ballot (which only voters in Ontario and Alberta provincial elections have a legal right to do).
1. If you don’t vote, you don’t count: Politicians get their jobs because people vote for them, and they lose their jobs because people vote against them. Of course politicians care somewhat about people who vote against them, and often they claim to care about everyone whether they vote or not. Really though, they usually do what voters want, and don’t pay much attention to what non-voters want. Politicians may make you upset or angry or turn you off for many reasons. But if you want to push politicians to change in any way then showing up to vote (in whatever way) is better than not showing up because politicians have to pay attention to voters. Remember, people from each political party look at every ballot (and in Ontario and Alberta voters have the right to decline their ballot (in other words, to vote “none of the above”).
2. Politicians have the power to change your life in many, many ways: What concerns or upsets you, or makes you happy? What problems do you want solved? No matter what, at any time, politicians can do something that will concern or upset you even more, or make you happier, or solve a problem you want solved, or cause another problem. Politicians control what kind of air you breathe, what kind of car you can buy, what you eat and drink, and many other parts of your life.
3. You never know when your vote may count: In the 2011 federal election, 9 politicians won by less than 500 votes (including 2 by less than 100 votes), and another 19 candidates won by between 500-1,000 votes. In each of those ridings, thousands of people didn’t vote, and if they had a different politician would be in power now.
4. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about government: You may be thinking, that’s not fair to say. But if you don’t turn up at the voting station and vote for a candidate, or cast a blank ballot, or mark your ballot however you want, or refuse your ballot (which is only allowed in Ontario and Alberta provincial elections), aren’t you really saying you don’t care about which politicians or political party has the power to make decisions about your life. And if you don’t care, do you really have a right to complain about what those politicians or the party in power does?