Almost half the eligible voters in Canada don’t vote. Any time there is an election, the media begins to harp about it, trying to bully the non-voters into voting. Which only makes it worse.
I think Canadians don’t vote mostly due to feelings of disenfranchisement.
A great many Canadians feel excluded from the process. Although they have passed a citizenship test most native born Canadians would have trouble with, many new Canadians don’t vote because they don’t feel entitled.
Similarly, many poor or otherwise disadvantaged Canadians feel excluded from the process by electoral events held in inaccessible venues. Due to the size of ridings, candidates can’t possibly get everywhere during any election, so they tend to limit their door to door canvassing to “good” neighborhoods. Depending on where you live you might:
- have a parade of candidates past your door for each election (inclusion), or
- your neighborhood might never see a candidate (exclusion)
Under Canada’s inequitable antiquated First Past The Post electoral system, some votes count more than others, but most don’t count at all. It’s disheartening to vote knowing your hope of actually being represented in parliament is slim to none. I well understand why nearly half of us don’t vote: we’ve learned from experience that our votes don’t count.
Until our electoral system is modernized to a proportionate system, we are unlikely to see much increase in turnout.