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What can be done to get more people to vote?

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Judging by the results of the last provincial election, something needs to be done to get voters more interested in doing their duty at the ballot box.

Turnout in 2009 was only 55 per cent; it was the lowest result since Elections BC began recording figures back in 1928.

The last two elections included a referendum on electoral reform; voters twice rejected the BC Liberals’ plan for the Single Transferable Vote.

UBC political science professor Max Cameron says there are many other ideas for getting people engaged in the system, such as allowing more free votes and reducing party control over individual MLAs.

“There are other idea on top of that,” he adds. “Electoral reform, definitely. I think that proportional representation’s probably a good idea — or some version of it. STV was only one more proportional kind of system.”

He also suggests exploring the idea of mandatory voting, where people are fined or denied benefits if they fail to cast a ballot on election day.

“Part of it is changing the cultural politics, changing the way the legislature works,” he adds.

Cameron says parties also need to rebuild connections in the community and rebuild their constituency associations.