News Views: Better than bribes

Shopping and the suburbs were much discussed during the election campaign in Maple Ridge, but there was no one galvanizing issue

In Maple Ridge, all but one incumbent was re-elected to council.

Voter turnout was just 25 per cent, down from close to 30 in 2008.

So voters were either pleased with the work done by council this past term, or they just don’t care that much.

Shopping and the suburbs were much discussed during the election campaign in Maple Ridge, but there was no one galvanizing issue.

Maybe people didn’t vote Saturday because they were shopping in Langley.

Then again, voter turnout was up to 30 per cent in Pitt Meadows, where the mayoral race was much discussed beforehand, although it didn’t turn out to be as close as expected.

Still, voter turnout was poor, as it was across  B.C.

How to improve it?

Making it law for people to vote, and fining them, would only lead to spoiled ballots, and we live in a democracy.

Social media doesn’t seem to be helping; in fact, candidates who used only social media during the campaign registered some of the lowest vote totals in Maple Ridge.

One candidate suggests mailing out ballots.

The chief electoral officer of B.C., among other changes to the Election Act, recommends a trial of new voting technologies – including internet voting.

Electronic voting has been used in Nova Scotia, the Netherlands, the U.S. and U.K., Switzerland, and Estonia. In Huntsville – one of 34 municipalities in Ontario that allowed e-voting last year – voter turnout rose to 46 per cent from 30 .

A trial will help quell fears of fraud, and give time to find a fail-safe method, to prevent hacking and ensure security.

Anything to make it easier and to get more people to vote, short of bribing them, is worth a try.

 

– The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News