Only about 20 per cent of citizens voted in Regina’s civic election

Click to play video: 'Voter turnout down during Regina municipal election'
Voter turnout down during Regina municipal election
WATCH ABOVE: Last night, 36,650 people voted out of nearly 180,000 registered voters. This means only about 20 per cent of the eligible voters actually cast a ballot. David Baxter has more on the low turnout. – Oct 27, 2016

Mayor Michael Fougere won his re-election in a landslide, Wednesday night. He received 24,992 of the 36,656 votes cast.

However, the election results show 179,645 registered voters. This means voter turnout was a low 20.4 per cent.

“There was no driving issue that created a wedge issue or controversy,” Fougere said in response to thoughts on the low turnout.

“People are also satisfied with the direction of the city and they felt ‘I’m ok and don’t need to vote because things are going very well.'”

Fougere said this made up a fair amount of the comments he received on the doorsteps where he heard that people were aware of what is going on in civic politics and fine with the status quo.

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The mayor did say that voter interest can be improved upon and some incoming councillors like Ward 3’s Andrew Stevens have ideas on how to boost that.

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“One of my proposals is to have monthly meetings in the community, call them community councils, where people come and talk with their neighbours residents, and me and I can update them on what’s going on in council if I can’t make it,” Stevens said.

Door knocking is a tried and proven method of engaging the electorate, but more and more voters are getting information online.

Alec Couros, associate professor of information and communication technologies at the University of Regina, posed a question to Regina and Saskatoon voters for their thoughts on the online presence of candidates.

“Inconsequential, meh, non-existent,” Couros read.

He said that usually incumbents remain quiet on social media, and it’s a better tool for new candidates to establish their names.

However, Couros said social media rarely translates to increased voter numbers.

“I think what you really have to start doing is start focusing on it in schools. Social media is not going to do that, but there’s good examples,” he said.

“They’re actually doing mock-elections. Those are the types of things teachers and the education system should be doing.”

In 2012 over 51,000 people voted in Regina’s civic election.


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