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P.E.I. voters on why they voted or didn't bother

Why some Islanders voted in Prince Edward Island's plebiscite on electoral reform, and why the majority stayed home.

The majority of Islanders didn't bother to cast a ballot

Did you vote in the plebiscite? Here's what Islanders had to say

CBC News PEI

5 years ago
1:06
Did you vote in the plebiscite? Here's what Islanders had to say 1:06

Prince Edward Islanders are known for going to the polls in big numbers — often leading the country in federal elections with more than 80 per cent of eligible voters casting ballots.

But this provincial  plebiscite on electoral reform hasn't inspired voters.

Elections P.E.I. says as of 5 p.m. on Monday, only 32,844 ballots had been cast — 32.08 per cent of eligible voters.

'What are we voting for?'

Many voters CBC News spoke to were unaware of the plebiscite.

Angela Oatway and Courtnee Fraser explain why they didnt vote in the plebiscite. (Pat Martel/CBC)

"What are we voting for, is it municipal? I don't even know what it is," said Angela Oatway."I'm lost in my own family."

Her friend, Courtnee Fraser from Stratford, P.E.I. added, "I know about it, but I didn't even vote. That's so bad."

"It's just not something that's been made to feel that it's a pressing issue."

'If I'm not electing somebody, why should I bother?'

"I always vote," said Ian MacLaughlin from Belfast, P.E.I. who said he planned to vote before the polls closed at 7p.m.

"I feel it's my responsibility," he said.

MacLaughlin said he could understand why voter turnout was low in the plebiscite.

"I was kind of confused in the beginning because I didn't understand the five options," he said.

Another factor he cited for the low turnout was that people were being asked to vote for a concept, rather than a candidate.

"Some people are thinking, 'If I'm not electing somebody, why should I bother?'"

Ian LeClair from Stratford, P.E.I says he always votes and that perhaps the reasons others stayed away was that it was too complicated. (Pat Martel/CBC)

'I see it enough'

Some of the Islanders who didn't vote said they had heard much about the plebiscite.

"I haven't really seen much of what's going on," said Eric Smith.

"To be completely honest, I don't even know what the vote is. I just know that there's a vote going on today."

Ian LeClair from Stratford, P.E.I. said there was plenty of publicity surround this plebiscite, and he couldn't understand why people didn't know know about it.

"I see it enough. If anyone's paying attention or watching TV, radio, they're going to see it."

Eric Smith from Charlottetown says he hasn't paid attention to the plebiscite. (Par Martel/CBC)

'It's my civic duty'

Cavelle Veenhuis from St. Catherine, P.E.I., said, "It's my civic duty. It's disappointing that the general public is not doing their duty."

Cavelle Veenhuis says voting is her civic duty. (Pat Martel/CBC)

"It was an easy process, get your card in the mail, go online and it's done in two seconds," said Veenhuis.

David Silverberg also said he's disappointed with the low turnout.

"Today's the last day, so hopefully a drove of people will come out."

Voting ends Monday at 7 p.m.

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