Saskatchewan

Apathy in civic elections tied to lack of political parties, says professor

In the last municipal election, 33 per cent of eligible voters in Regina cast a ballot, and 36 per cent in Saskatoon. This was an increase from 2009, when only 21 per cent of voters in Regina voted and 26 per cent in Saskatoon.

Voter turnout for municipal elections in Regina and Saskatoon is less than half of eligible voters

The revised proposal will go before city council at its preliminary corporate business plan and budget meeting on Nov. 30. (Courtney Markewich/CBC)

If you find it difficult to know who to vote for in the municipal election, you are not alone. 

Many people find it difficult because of the lack of parties, according to Campion College professor Lee Ward. 

"The political parties aren't involved in the municipal elections in the same way, so candidates don't typically run on a party platform," said Ward. 

"Some people will vote, even if they are not particularly interested in the issues because of their partisan traditions."

Ward said when parties aren't involved, voters have to know the individual they are voting for and that can be more of a challenge. 

Although there has been an increase in the number of people who cast their ballots in municipal elections, it remains well below 50 per cent of the population in both Saskatoon and Regina. 

In the last municipal election, 33 per cent of eligible voters in Regina cast a ballot, and 36 per cent in Saskatoon. This was an increase from 2009, when only 21 per cent of voters in Regina voted and 26 per cent in Saskatoon. 

Ward said that the reason there was an increase between the two election years was because of a major point of contention in Regina— the stadium. 

"It acted as a referendum for the stadium in a way," he said.

Jamin Mike is an eligible voter in Regina who is undecided about tomorrow's election. 

"It depends on whether or not it's convenient for me to vote. If not, I could really care less," said Jamin Mike. 

Rachel Janze, another Regina citizen disagrees.

"I feel that it's my way to be a part of what makes things happen to grow and change in my city and my neighbourhood," she said. 

"These are the people I live next door to, this is what happens in my backyard and in front of my street and beside me and all around me. It's part of my everyday, it's important." 

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