Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday October 29, 2014
Where did you go, Hamilton voters?
Not good enough, Hamilton.
That was the consensus among disheartened democracy boosters after voter turnout plummeted to a record low of 34 per cent in Monday’s city election. By contrast, 60 per cent of eligible Toronto voters cast a ballot.
“People just aren’t interested,” said Larry Pomerantz, chair of the Hamilton Civic League which supported a People’s Platform resident engagement effort this election.
Pomerantz said the key is to convince residents it’s in their interest to join the civic debate. “Do we really want more voters, or more informed voters?”
Education is essential, says mayor-elect Fred Eisenberger. “Voting is a learned behaviour we need to instill in our children,” he said.
Online voting helped Ajax reach its best turnout in decades — even if it was just 30 per cent.
Ranked ballots allow voters to list candidates by preference, with second choices used in a run-off until a candidate earns 50 per cent support.
While Hamilton’s election day had some snafus, they shouldn’t have kept voters away from the polls, said election manager Tony Fallis, who called the vote one of the smoothest he’s seen in the city.
Fallis received five complaints about electioneering at polling stations and a parking problem at a Flamborough school.
Councillor Judi Partridge said she also fielded complaints from upset voters who claimed the station opened late, leading to lineups.
Fallis said he was not aware of any delays in opening of any of the 209 polling stations. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)