I'll explain more about the idea later. First, some background. Only 17,961 of 82,839 eligible voters cast ballots in last fall's election in Coquitlam. That's a turnout rate of just 21.7% .
No one knows exactly why the turnout is so low. Some optimists think it's because people are generally satisfied with the way civic affairs are being managed -- either that, or they don't think civic affairs are important enough to warrant the effort necessary to inform themselves and then cast a ballot.
Most analysts and experts are concerned about the lack of engagement. Of late, some have suggested that the province allow municipalities to make voting easier by opening up the process to on-line balloting. I don't think this is a good idea, though.
First, it would open the system to abuse. We seem to hear about a new computer virus every week or so these days. I think hackers would have a field day if elections went on-line.
|Traditional way of encouraging voter turnout.
Currently, municipal governments make public a record of all voters who cast ballots for eight weeks after the election. But members of the public are only allowed to view the list in person, and are not allowed to make photocopies.
Would people read such a list? Of course. Just think of how often you've scanned the names of the winners of the latest hospital lottery or participants in the Sun Run.