How do we (re)engage citizens in the political process?

Patrick Lee will be pitching a discussion that asks,

In recent years, voter turnout in Canada has reached record lows. Only 61% of eligible voters cast ballots in the last federal election. Turnout for recent provincial elections in Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Ontario was even worse, ranging from 52% to 59%. However, the lowest participation is at the municipal level where turnout in BC was a mere 30% in 2011.

Election officials, political parties and advocacy groups have tried to increase voter engagement, but low turnout continues to be a problem. In Canada, voter turnout is lower amongst younger voters and minority ethnic groups, resulting in underrepresentation of these groups in electoral results. Increasing voter turnout amongst these groups and the general population is desirable to help ensure the interests of all Canadians are reflected in policy decisions.

Promote the Vote is a non-partisan movement of everyday Canadians trying to increase voter turnout through dialogue with each other. Traditional outreach campaigns try to speak directly to people who don’t vote. Promote the Vote takes a different approach: it asks people who already vote to go one step further and encourage their friends and family to cast ballots too.

What are other ways we can (re)engage citizens in the political process? How do we create a culture of voting in Canada? How do we create collaboration and dialogue in a space that is increasingly along political and ideological lines?

You can reach him at mpatlee[at]gmail.com to discuss or connect with him at Changecamp 2014.

Posted in Citizen Engagement.

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