I found myself reacting rather strongly to a Huffington Post article about voter turnout in the recent Canadian federal election.
What made me recoil was the little infographic on FB that linked to the article calling our 68.3% voter turnout “amazing”.
Now, I know that giving a voter turnout a letter grade (in this case a C) may not be the best way of evaluating its level of excellence or not. But when barely 2/3 of the possible voters bothered to get out and add their voice to the national direction, I can’t see it being considered a B, much less an A.
Even the Huff Post article points out, in another graphic, that prior to the 1993 election when voter turnout dipped below 70% and has since remained there, you have to go back to 1953 to find the previous sub 70% turnout, and to 1926 for the one before that.
I don’t really care what voter turnout is in other countries and how we compare. Forget the curve. Most of the millions who didn’t vote were fully capable of voting. But they didn’t.
So, let’s quit pretending we are in a no-fail school where teachers are prohibited from giving goose eggs even to students who do nothing. We are a country. Our voting age is 18. When more than 3 out of 10 choose not to exercise this great freedom and privilege, it is indeed amazing, but not in a positive sense. It is at best mediocre. Perhaps even pathetic.
Come on Canada, we can do better.