Our View: Voters leaving system behind

If the aim is to engage more of the electorate, getting citizens involved at a young age is a great idea.

If the aim is to engage more of the electorate, getting citizens involved at a young age is a great idea. But the province’s plan to register 16-year-olds two years before they’re eligible to vote is missing the point.

The idea of providing high school students with a better understanding of our system of democracy is something that should have been done long ago.

With dismal numbers in last weekend’s municipal elections across the province, and turnout dropping routinely at both the federal and provincial polls, it’s time to take a long look at what role citizens want to play in government.

The current concept of electing candidates and essentially giving them the keys to the cupboards for three years has served us surprisingly well.  But most people aren’t comfortable with the idea of voting in a benign dictatorship, which in many ways is what we do – at least at the federal and even provincial level. Rather, the electorate prefers to have confidence that it holds the hammer, ready to wield it on any government that pushes its luck a little too far over a term in office.

We also have learned to exercise our rights in other ways, exerting a collective will through the choices we make as consumers and in the causes we stand behind.

If anything, democracy seems to be thriving everywhere but at its most symbolic core – the ballot box. But why have we turned away from election days?

We think there’s more to it than oft-repeated excuse that people are “electioned out.”

Perhaps a better reason is that citizens want to feel like they are engaged and that they can contribute in ways that are tangible.

One of the inevitable changes coming to the way we pick our politicians is by allowing online voting. This is actively being implemented by jurisdictions around the country and already being done elsewhere in the world.

We’ve already seen with the last census that there are ways to engage citizens securely, and in a way that keeps individuals from being counted more than once.

It’s time for our democratic system to catch up to the rest of society.

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

Just Posted

Playgrounds back in the swing of things on the West Shore

Langford, View Royal, Colwood reopen parks, playgrounds

Sooke fitness facilities reopen to the public

Extra measures set in place to ensure user safety

Beefs & Bouquets, June 4

To submit a beef or a bouquet, email publisher@goldstreamgazette.com

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Parkland grads mark end to high school in virtual ceremony

North Saanich grads pre-tape graduation ceremony days before school officially reopened

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Most Read