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Should Elections Canada have the right to create campaigns to improve voter turnout?

Fair Elections Act Survey

Voter turnout in Canada 1867-present

The Fair Elections Act would change the role of Elections Canada by taking away their ability to put on advertizing campaigns.  

 

The Government of Canada Demorcratic Reform page outlines the updated role of Elections Canada as follows1:

 

"Under the Fair Elections Act the Chief Electoral Officer may provide the public with information only on:

  1. how to be a candidate;
  2. how an elector may have his or her name added to a list of electors and may have corrections made to information respecting him or her on the list;
  3. how an elector may vote under section 127 and the times, dates and locations for voting;
  4. how an elector may establish his or her identity and residence in order to vote, including the pieces of identification that he or she may use to that end; and
  5. the measures for assisting electors with a disability to access a polling station or advance polling station or to mark a ballot."

 

This update replaces the previous clause 18 (1) under the existing act which states2:

 

"The Chief Electoral Officer may implement public education and information programs to make the electoral process better known to the public, particularly to those persons and groups most likely to experience difficulties in exercising their democratic rights.”

 

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Elections Canada does not need to run advertising campaigns

Elections Canada running advertising campaigns is good for Canada.

Voter Turnout

The most important thing that Elections Canada can do is ensure that everyone know how to vote.  After the 2011 election, 7% of people reported that lack of information prevented them from voting1.  

Voter Turnout

While some voters may not participate due to lack of information, there is also a large percentage that don't vote because they are disenfranchised and don't believe that it provides value to their lives.  It is important that Elections Canada have the right to tell people why they should vote as well as how they should vote.

Source of Voting Motivation

It is the role of politicians and political parties to encourage people to vote and get people engaged.  They are in the best position to be able to increase voter turnout.

Source of Voting Motivation

Poltiical Parties and politicians only need to get enough of the vote out to ensure that they win the election.  They cannot afford to make overall turnout their top priority.  Only an organization like Elections Canada that doesn't have party affiliations can tackle voter turnout across all demographics.

Student Vote

The Student Vote organization is separate from Elections Canada and will be able to continue their work even with the changes in the Fair Elections Act.

Student Vote

Encouraging students to vote is one of the most important things we can do as a democracy because people who get engaged when they are young usually stay engaged their whole lives.  We should not deprive Student Vote of any source of income.

   

Other Factors for Discussion

 Arguments for middle-ground, additional or related solutions.

 

Elections Canada and Voter Turnout

Should Elections Canada have the right to create campaigns to improve voter turnout?

5

Votes

Yes, every vote matters and non-partisan calls for participation are important for democracy.
0

Votes

No, only politicians should encourage people to vote.
0

Votes

Undecided
New:
1 Votes left

jVoteSystem developed and designed by www.joomess.de.

 

References

1.     http://www.democraticreform.gc.ca/eng/content/backgrounder-fair-elections-act-better-customer-service-voters

2.     http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/election-canadas-role-in-educating-kids-is-vital-to-our-democracy/article16826301/#dashboard/follows/

3.     http://openparliament.ca/debates/2014/2/6/peggy-nash-3/?page=11

4.     http://www.ipolitics.ca/2014/02/10/what-does-the-fair-elections-act-mean-for-student-vote/

5.     http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pierre-poilievre-denies-criticizing-elections-canada-boss-1.2531003

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