How low can we go?

by Aaron Wherry

Kate Chappell relates a tale from the polling station.

Civic education from an early age is also a key to raising citizens that are interested in voting. Throughout the day, teachers escorted groups of children (we were stationed at an elementary school in a massive, unheated gymnasium) through the voting station. They seemed to pay attention as the Supervising Deputy Returning Officer explained the voting process. The best question, to which absolutely no one had an answer was: “What happens if nobody votes?”

A question to those who aren’t presently moved by the decline in voting turnout might be a version of that: how much lower can turnout get before the legitimacy of the entire exercise falls into doubt?




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How low can we go?

  1. I accompanied my parents to the polling station and “helped” them vote from the time I was born. My wife and I have done the same with our kids. I suspect they will all vote when they are (shortly) eligible. Nothing teaches like example.

  2. I vote.

    As long as a few of us vote, the elections still count.

  3. “What happens if nobody votes?”

    Then all current office holders would lose their legitimacy and have to resign….and we would have to find a way to replace the entire govt.

    Hmmm…

  4. The legitimacy of the mandate ended at 50% turnout.  But nothing will happen as long as one guy votes, and you can bet the politicians themselves will do so, so that will mean the MP candidates with the largest number of voting-age family members will win, since they would tend to have more peope they could talk into voting for their team.

    • Nothing will happen so long as one guy votes, or until the system is torn down and replaced.  While that could happen peacefully, more often than not it involves bloodshed.  That’s where the real danger lies, that somewhere along the way those who don’t vote because they don’t feel it really makes a difference will be supplanted with those who don’t vote because they’re angry at the system.

      And that’s the most important reason there is to see if we can increase voter turn-out.. so that those who don’t vote never feel like they have enough support to survive violent revolution.

  5. When my son was in Grade 6, his teacher led an entire social studies segment on politics, which she did every year of her career.  There’s usually some level of election going on, and she invited all local candidates in to explain their party and platform to the kids.  There was a federal election on when my son was in her class; I remember him bringing home a noisemaker and a #1 ribbon, like you’d win at a country fair, and telling me his favourite candidate so far was the “flying yogi.”  All school kids should learn about politics, parties and how our Parliamentary system works.

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