“Not interested in politics” is the reason most non-voters cited during Canada’s 43rd federal election (Black Press Media File)

Political apathy main reason for not voting in 2019 Canadian federal election

More than one third of non-voters (35 per cent) say they are ‘not interested in politics’

Political apathy — or Politikverdrossenheit, as Germans might say — remains the primary reason for not voting among Canadians, according to a new survey.

More than one third of non-voters (35 per cent) told Statistics Canada that they were “not interested in politics” when asked about their reasons for not voting in the 2019 federal election.

“This was the most common reason for all age groups, with the exception of those aged 75 and older, who were most likely to indicate that they did not vote due to an illness or disability,” it says in an accompanying analysis.

Just over three-quarters (77 per cent) of Canadians reported voting in the 2019 federal election, unchanged from the 2015 election.

Other factors for non-voting include being busy (22 per cent), having an illness or disability (13 per cent), or being out of town (11 per cent). These three factors grouped under the larger heading of everyday life reasons were more likely to discourage women than men from voting. Men, in contrast, were more likely to say that they are “not interested in politics.”

The survey, which amounts to a sociology of the voting public, or the non-voting public depending on perspective, underscores several broader trends.

RELATED: Federal Green party leader Elizabeth May takes Saanich-Gulf Islands

RELATED: Elizabeth May won’t step down as Saanich Gulf-Islands MP to give her successor a safe seat

First, young people are less likely to vote than older people, even as turnout among younger people has gone up. In 2011, 55 per cent of individuals aged 18 to 24, the youngest group of eligible voters, voted. By 2015, the share rose to 67 per cent, only to stagnate at 68 per cent in 2019. By comparison, 80 per cent of individuals aged 55 to 64 voted in 2011. That figure rose to 83 per cent in 2015, dropping to 81 per cent in 2019.

Second, naturalized Canadian citizens are not less likely to vote than their natural-born peers. In fact, the figures suggest that naturalized citizens are more willing to embrace democratic norms and procedures than their natural-born peers.

In 2011, 55 per cent of citizens naturalized 1o years or less after immigration voted. By 2019, that share had risen to 72 per cent. The share is even higher for naturalized citizens more than 10 years since immigration with 75 per cent in 2019. In 2011, 70 per cent of Canadian citizens by birth voted, in 2015 and 2019 was figure was 78 per cent, on par with figures for naturalized citizens.

RELATED: B.C. referendum rejects proportional representation

This said, supporters of electoral reform will likely not find much joy in the survey. Five per cent of non-voters cited the electoral process as the reason for not voting, including not being able to prove their identity or address, a lack of information about the voting process, or issues with the voter information card.

Supporters of electoral reform had previously argued that turnout would increase if Canada were replace its first-past-the-post system with a more proportional system.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

‘Langford Cares’ campaign to cover hotel expenses for frontline health care workers

Initiative gives back to health care staff living on the West Shore

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

Police watchdog clears West Shore RCMP in altercation that led to man needing 82 staples

The man pretended he had a weapon he would use against the police

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read