Thursday, January 27, 2022

Little hope for high voter turn-out this election

election debate

By Glen Turner – Special to the Sydenham Current

Well, a “debate” it wasn’t.

The local Chamber organized and ran an all-candidates meeting Oct. 6, but to have called it a ‘debate’ was, in my opinion, quite a misnomer.

‘Debate’ is usually defined as an event which includes point-counterpoint, rebuttal etc., and this wasn’t the case.

The four attendees got to make opening and closing statements, and did have to answer five questions which they had not seen before. That part, I liked. One candidate had told me that, for the last forum, they’d received the questions in advance.

And there was a 30-minute intermission to ask questions of the candidates, but that wasn’t public.

Unfortunately, but not uncommon these days, the average age of the audience had to be 60-plus, there were many empty seats and quite a few left before the intermission was over. That doesn’t give much hope for voter turnout on the 19th or a turnout by younger voters on the 19th.

Last election (2011) the voter turnout was a meager 61.1% of eligible voters. Almost 10 million Canadians who COULD vote, didn’t. And, according to Elections Canada, only 38.8% of those ages 18-24, and 45.1% of those 25-34 bothered to cast a ballot.

I’ve been to many many of these all-candidate, events, and this one was quite typical, minus the chance for one-on-one exchanges between candidates, in front of the audience.

The Chamber deserves a lot of credit for organizing the event, and they ran it with precision and control. The candidates were instructed that their microphones would be turned off if they ran over time the limit for their answers and statements. Kudos to the local Curling Club for the facility and hospitality, too

The rather tight control might have been part of the problem, though. Rather than eliminating the chance for open-mic, with questions from the floor, next time they might consider the same approach to the frequent ranters, who will take 20 minutes to preface their question with their own opinions BEFORE their question. Limit the time to ask a question, and shut down the mic if they go on and on.

Just a suggestion, folks.

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