Going forward, how can voter turnout be improved?

October 20, 2017 - 11:59pm Updated: October 22, 2017 - 11:27am

Prior to Election Day on Monday, I wrote a column encouraging -- nay -- imploring Red Deerians to vote.

However, I was under no false preconceptions that the majority of those eligible actually would. I may be an optimist, but I can still be a cynic.

Anyhow, in case you missed it, voter turnout in Red Deer this year was an abysmal 30.3 per cent.

But this conversation cannot end here -- we can and should continue to promote the benefits of voting, namely your license to complain. Turning out to vote even means going to the polling station and spoiling one's ballot. 

Earlier this week, I asked social media followers how they think voter turnout could be improved. They voted and provided a number of other creative and reasonable responses.

User @mama_hops believes Red Deer should consider a ward system, something 71.7 per cent of voters rejected in 2013.

While Reg Warkentin with the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce concurred on Facebook, Jennifer Vanderschaeghe said, "My understanding is that wards tend to lead to more white middle class cisgender business men. People who come for a diverse place are less elected, therefore less represented."

Meanwhile, @casper6688 posed the question, "Do you really want people that don't want to vote... to vote?

To that, I say no... no I don't. It is equally important to encourage people to become informed voters.

Facebook user Chris Coulson doesn't just believe the voting age should be lowered to 16, he says make it mandatory for high school students.

106.7 The Drive morning show co-host Matt Geddes had an entirely different take.

"I think we need to realize that only about 50% of people care to read/learn/contribute to society. Of those, only 30% are dedicated enough to interrupt their regular day. I choose to be thankful that this small, dedicated, smart portion of the population is allowed to make the decisions for all. Mobile/online voting will help dummies vote. No thanks. System is fine."

Mike Malowany says council need to focus more on everyone, instead of a segment of the population.

At least we aren't Vancouver who had a by-election last week...

And speaking of Vancouver...

The bottom line is there are lots of ideas -- thus there should be a way for our politicians and the powers that be to enact some of these things.

So over the next few years, figure out a way to be a part of the solution, the solution being higher voter turnout.

What do you agree and disagree with? In the meantime, have your say in the comments section on our Facebook page.

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