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Voter Turnout in Canada

In: Social Issues

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Voting constitutes the backbone of Democracy

Voter Turnouts in Canada: Restoring a Civic Duty

Grant Macewan University
December 6th 2011
Political Science 101
Term Paper
In a democratic system it is vital that citizens engage in their civic duty of voting; only then can a proper governing body be chosen to represent the will of the majority. Abraham Lincoln got to the core of democracy when he stated, “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” In the last 50 years of Canadian history we have begun to see a decline in voter turnout; ranging from 80% of citizens voting in 1962, gradually dwindling to 59.1% in the year 2008 (Dickerson, Flanagan & O'Neill, 2010). It is important to understand why citizens vote the way they do in order to determine what may or may not be successful in regards to winning a majority government; factors that influence the voter’s choices include socio-demographic characteristics, beliefs and values, partisanship and confidence in political leaders. There is a great deal of debate surrounding which policies could increase voter based participation in democratic systems, but the most irrefutably successful policies would be those applied in systems of proportional representation ("Statistics by country," 2011). Voting is part of Canadian civic duty; unfortunately not all Canadians exercise their right to vote.

Over the past 20 years the Canadian voter turnout has been on a steady decline, from 75.3% turnout in 1988, to 59.1% voter turnout in 2008. Even more specifically, the decrease in voters is a result of the younger generation not taking part in the electoral process ("Falling voter turnout," 2006). Elections Canada released information regarding voter participation by age intervals of 3.5 years from the 2008 election; the data displays that the decrease in voter participation is largely due…...

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