What a non-voter looks like in Canada, in one chart - Macleans.ca

What a non-voter looks like in Canada, in one chart

In the 2011 federal election, 39 per cent of Canadians didn’t vote. Here are their excuses.


Every day, Maclean’s Show and Tell infographic series will highlight interesting data in a visually appealing way, bringing clarity and context to some aspect of the campaign—whether it’s one of the election’s major issues, or a less-discussed concern. Read this daily chart series in our special daily “Bulldog” edition.

Did you cast a ballot in the 2011 general election? With a voter turnout of only 61 per cent, there’s a good chance you were one of the 7.5 million eligible voters who didn’t. But why didn’t you? For both politicians and academics, it’s one of the most troubling questions for modern democracy. Luckily, Elections Canada provided us with a brief glimpse into the minds of non-voters following the last federal election. During a post-election poll, they discovered that more than 50 per cent of those who chose to abstain did so simply because they weren’t interested, or were too busy. What other reasons did Canadians give for not voting?dailyChart_04


What a non-voter looks like in Canada, in one chart

  1. I have a funny feeling that this graphic will look a little different when applied to the 2015 election.

    “Tried and failed due to insufficient ID/no vouching” will show up around post-secondary campuses, First Nations reserves and low-income neighbourhoods. Unsurprisingly, these groups tend not to vote Conservative.

    “Some version of voter suppression” should be expected as well, although these things are usually too diffuse to quantify. If the Conservatives continue to apply Republican dirty tricks we won’t see more misleading robocalls, they’ll move on to fresh tactics, like flyers in Democratic neighbourhoods encouraging voting (with the wrong election date) or warning voters that they’ll be checked for a criminal record.

    The trick is to keep the dirty tricks local, only apply them in swing districts and maintain plausible deniability. After election day, it’s too late to change the outcome, even if they hadn’t already weakened Elections Canada.

    Stephen Harper once said “You won’t recognize the country when I’m through with it.” Well, he’s right. We have a party/government that’s been convicted of election crimes in each of the last 3 elections, and who changed election rules to give themselves an advantage. It’s unCanadian. I just hope Harper is done with Canada as of October.

  2. Why i don’t vote.

    If you vote, you have no right to complain. If you vote, and you elect dishonest incompetent people and they get into office and oaf everything up; you are responsible for everything they have done. You caused the problem, you voted them in, you have no right to complain.
    I, on the other hand withhold my consent and get to complain about the whole system.
    I wont trade my consent for tax breaks or child benefits or a little bit of retirement money. The whole point of the system is for them to bribe you with the leftovers of what they have already stolen from you. Fundamentally voting is begging for scraps, whatever they feel will delude you into giving them your support.
    I’m not going to engage in the fantasy that this is at all about me, or about virtue or about control or about doing good things in the world.

    I’m not going to participate in this violent institution. I will not give them my consent.
    There is no virtue to be gained by grabbing the gun and giving it to the people you prefer so that virtue can be accomplished!

    If you are going to sell your soul, hold out for a little more than a fucking tax break.

    • If you vote for “dishonest and incompetent people and they get into office”, you not only become “responsible” but, equally, an “oaf”.

      Hopefully, if you don’t vote, we’ll be very happy never to hear from you again.