Thursday, November 12, 2009

Convenient voting options, exciting races entice voter turnout | / / | Convenient voting options, exciting races entice voter turnout:
Cobourg leads the Northumberland County pack when it comes to embracing non-traditional voting methods to help increase voter participation. In the 2006 election, Cobourg offered voters three options to cast their ballots: by phone, on the Internet, or at a traditional polling station. The experiment was a success and saw voter turnout jump sharply from 36.47 per cent in 2003 to 44.91 per cent in 2006. For next year’s municipal contest, the town will eliminate paper ballots entirely, and although it’s not likely the total switch to electronic voting will be a huge money-saver, convenience for the voters and engaging younger voters is the main focus, said Cobourg clerk Lorraine Brace.

To help pump-up voter participation in neighbouring Port Hope, the municipality is looking to strike a happy balance between providing more flexibility and opportunities for voters while holding the line on costs. Clerk Sue Dawe said folks are “very busy, very stressed,” especially in bedroom communities where many people work out of town.

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