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2014-09-04 at 15:11

Encouraging turnout

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- Ideally, John Hannam would like to see voter turnout double in 2014.

Just 43 per cent of the electorate exercised their democratic right in the 2010 Thunder Bay municipal election, and while that marks a seven percentage point jump over 2006, when there was no mayor’s race to speak of, the city could do better Hannam said.

On Thursday the city clerk helped launch a new website aimed at making voting more accessible to residents.
The site includes everything from voter registration and voter-list checks to important election dates and candidate profiles and information.

Tbayvotes.com also provides dates and times for the voting van, an innovation the city clerk’s office introduced four years ago to improve access and encourage higher voter participation.

The site should answer most questions people have, starting with whether or not they’re on the voting list.

“They may have moved or changed residence in the last year. There’s lots of reasons why they’re not on the voting list,” Hannam said.

“The other thing beyond that is really understanding they’re eligible to vote.”

Plenty of potential voters believe they have to have lived in a ward for a minimum length of time in order to be able to vote there.

Not so, said Hannam.

“If you’re living here today and moved here yesterday, you’re eligible to vote in a municipal election. Getting themselves added to the list is a simple thing,” he said. “It’s a matter of making them understand that it really isn’t difficult to do that.”

Getting people interested in voting is a tough task, and municipalities are no different that provincial and federal jurisdictions, where turnout continues to drop.

Historically Thunder Bay gets about 50 per cent of eligible voters out. That’s still not good enough, Hannam said.

“That means that half of the people don’t vote when a municipal election comes around. That’s what we’re trying to have an impact on.”

Coun. Rebecca Johnson, seeking a fourth seat in the at-large race, said it’s time the city got with the times and introduced online voting.

Council rejected it once already this year, but she said it’s time is coming. It’s the only true way to see larger number of people participate in the democratic process.

“We haven’t done that and I think that’s regressive,” she said.

Today’s youth live online, and people with accessibility issues often find it too bothersome to get out to the polls.
“That’s the era that we’re living in now,” she said.

Hannam said the next council would have to approve online voting in order for it to be introduced in time for the 2018 municipal election.

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Comments

We've improved our comment system.
Dudebro says:
Oh I think there will be lots of turn out this time around. People are generally sick and tired of the same old council members who really need to call it a day.
I've never payed much attention but you can guarantee I'll be voting this year to do everything in my power as a voter to get these guys out of here.
9/4/2014 4:16:41 PM
TBAY Opinion says:
@ Dudebro I see by the massive barrage of comments ( 1 ) that folks are really worked up about this.










9/5/2014 8:14:09 AM
BuddhaMum says:
If there's one good thing Tamara Johnson may have done (from what I've seen in discussion groups and facebook pages) it's that she's called so much attention to herself through her behaviour, cussing, and facebook rants that more people will be turning out to ensure she doesn't get elected.
9/5/2014 8:49:45 AM
TBAY Opinion says:
She will be elected.
9/5/2014 9:51:35 AM
BuddhaMum says:
No. She won't. She relies on hatred-fueled arguments and answers questions with questions. I cannot wait to attend the debates to see how she handles (embarasses) herself when confronted with topics OTHER THAN First Nations tax breaks and Treaty issues. And even if she did win, what other counselor would side with her on anything? No one wants their political career ruined by forming alliance with her.
9/5/2014 3:59:17 PM
Eastender says:
If she's ant event centre, she stands a very good chance of being elected.
She states openly what many in this city think. They will vote for her.
9/7/2014 12:46:56 PM
smartguy83 says:
Totally agree. The problem is the voters, myself included, often lack the information to select the appropriate members. Lack of information is often the reason. Is there a way to access each candidates "platforms". I want to know why I should vote for them beyond some presentation or debate. Why should I vote for you? What are your goals? Etc.

For this reason I think many people default. The status quo may not be ideal. I have no issue with council and the attempts they have put forth to fix the issues from decades of council's reluctance to improve the city. However, I have literally no clue who else to vote for. I'd hate to vote in someone else who is beyond clueless or is going to spend their entire time trying to legalize marijuana in Thunder Bay...Many more important issues to address.
9/5/2014 9:10:24 AM
whodo says:
Where do we the voter go to get questions answered?

like:

Why can Councillors run in Wards that they don't reside in???
9/5/2014 8:04:06 AM
conker2014 says:
People move, you your job as a councilor cannot force you to live in any particular location. So anyone can run in any ward.

Wards make it easy to win a seat as you only have to convince a small population that you are worth voting for. At large councilors have to prove to voters that they are good for the entire city. Unfortunately they tend to be elected more on name recognition than on content.
9/5/2014 11:02:48 AM
Paul ₰loan says:
The difference between an at-large and ward campaign is time and money required to cover the additional wards.
9/7/2014 12:18:02 AM
Paul ₰loan says:
[Moderator. All links are official government voter info links. No media links are included.]

tbayvotes.com

including, for election process info:






Thunder Bay city government website:




MPAC voter registration:

voterlookup.ca


Thunder Bay city clerk's office


The answer, from tbayvotes.com, to the example question you asked:
"Note: No person shall be entitled to be elected as a councillor from any ward unless he or she had his or her residence in such ward on Nomination Day. Residency must be maintained in the City of Thunder Bay throughout the term of office."
9/7/2014 12:27:06 AM
borg79 says:
As will I. The status quo at city hall must end.
9/5/2014 8:46:49 AM
dynamiter says:
From the looks of the list - It will be same old same old. Dont see anybody with any name recognition running against the status quo in Mckellar, Neebing, McIntyre, Northwood or Westfort. And we all know even if there is a change at mayor ( and it wont be you Henry), it will still be the status quo mentality although Kenny will talk with his big time business contacts a lot more than Keith was or is able to. Dont know what the final date is for putting the applications in - but it would be nice for somebody of substance to run in these wards - cause we know that the At large ward races are nothing but a name recognition popularity contest - ie people just X off the names they recognize once they have voted for or against who they liked.
9/5/2014 9:28:43 AM
DWB says:
The problem with people not voting is that the people running for office do not listen to the voters. Why should they vote when their votes do not count. City council as it stands now does what it wants and doesn't answer to the people. There is no accountability.
9/5/2014 11:12:56 AM
Eastender says:
The problem is not voter turnout, The problem is informed voter turnout. if you are not acquainted with the issues that affect this city, and don't bother to become familiar with the candidates platforms as to how they can fulfill your demands, then don't bother to vote. Voting for a familiar candidate, because he or she has been on council since the dinosaurs roamed the earth, is not productive.
Learn who are the candidates that are concerned with rising taxes, and will do something about them. who will use you dollars in a prudent and wise manner to maintain solid infrastructure, and keep costs of labour to a minimum. Learn to distinguish them from the dreamers, who propose grandiose schemes that only enrich a select few in this city, and cause ever increasing tax hikes. THINK! THEN VOTE!
9/5/2014 12:36:38 PM
Paul ₰loan says:
Red River Ward, Thunder Bay
paulsloan.nationbuilder.com

Look not at just each candidate's or incumbent's GOAL, but the ROUTE to that goal. The who, what, where, when, why and how of the candidates and incumbents are often much different than each other even though they may have a similar goal.

Then consider other issues besides the event centre.
9/7/2014 12:15:53 AM
Jack Frost says:
Stick to the old tried and true hand ballots only for voting.

Both on-line and electronic voting can and will only allow more criminal opportunity for electronic manipulation and corruption !!

Voter turnout continues to drop because of the never-ending bad taste of foul garbage these arrogant, shameless self-serving politicians serve to the voters.
9/8/2014 6:27:34 PM
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