Voters’ historic silence a clear message to Ontario’s politicians

When 52 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2007 Ontario provincial election, journalists, political pundits and politicians themselves thought the low turnout was bad.

In this month’s Oct. 6 election, that number dropped to just 49.2 per cent of voters marking an X, shocking many observers who expected a better turnout than four years ago based on strong participation in advance polls.

Ontario’s politicians should have found ways to engage the silent 48 per cent.

This year’s turnout is the worst since 1867.

With fewer than half of Ontarians having chosen their leaders, MPPs in Queen’s Park cannot truly say they represent Ontario.

The low voter turnout in 2007 should have startled politicians into action. They should have put more effort into finding out why almost half the province didn’t relate to any of them. They should have found ways to engage the silent 48 per cent.

But they didn’t.

It seems elections were, and continue to be, all about winning.

Politicians could blame voter apathy but the truth might be the contrary.

When more than half of eligible voters avoid the polls on election day, they’re making a statement. They’re telling politicians, regardless of party affiliation, that they don’t make sense to them.

If leaders continue to ignore half of Ontario’s electorate, they’re not only missing out on huge numbers of potential votes, they’re letting many people go unheard and unrepresented.

All newly elected and re-elected MPPs should take it upon themselves to reach out to those who didn’t vote.

They must figure out what they are missing, because clearly, they are missing something.

About this article

By: Yeamrot Taddese
Posted: Oct 18 2011 9:33 am
Filed under: Ontario Votes 2011 Opinion

1 Comment on "Voters’ historic silence a clear message to Ontario’s politicians"

  1. Ernest Horvath | October 19, 2011 at 9:01 am |

    This is a two fold issue.
    It is the voter that needs an awakening.
    It is your RIGHT to vote.
    It is not a priviledge. This RIGHT wasn’t given to you , it was taken.
    When you don’t have your say on the only day when only your voice matters.
    Not special interest digging into your pockets.
    Not government agenda good or bad.
    You are in control for that one day in 4 years.
    Political parties don’t care if you vote or not.
    They will be elected anyway. They will get a pension anyway.
    You hurt yourselves by not voting.
    You tell them , it is okay to quietly take this RIGHT away.
    And on the other hand , to vote not knowing the issues just based on a Political Party name , or because you see someone’s name posted in your area causes even more problems.

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