Saturday, October 23, 2010

Boosting voter turnout a challenge

In 2006, Mayor Hazel McCallion was elected by 91.4 per cent of voters who cast a ballot for the mayoral race.

Or to put it another way: McCallion was elected by just 22 per cent of the 445,964 registered voters in Canada’s sixth-largest city.

The low voter turnout in that race — dramatically lower than Toronto or suburban cities with more dynamic politics, such as Vaughan — reflects the truism that a strong mayoral race is the best way to draw voters to the polls.

“It depends on the nature of the competition,” says Professor Jon Pammett of Carleton University, an expert in voting behavior, pointing to research he has been doing with PhD student Nicole Goodman.

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