Monday, July 5, 2010

Missing Story: Voter Turnout Plummets Among Eligible Voters Aged 45-74

Much focus - and blame - has been attached to the low voter turnout among young people.

I've written before regarding that misplaced blame. My point then was to shift it to where it squarely belongs, with Canada's politicians and their puppet-masters who work to maintain Canada's provincial and federal voting systems. The Single Member Plurality majoritarian system we have works very well for the two major parties, given it was designed in the 11th century, back when there were only two parties.

Times change and voters in democratic countries demand greater choice, as is their right; which means, in systems where there are political parties, voters end up with more of them to choose from. All countries but three - among the laggards being Canada -, have updated their voting systems accordingly; whilst Canadians get delivered majority governments - or 'minority' governments propped up by the other major party, which forms a complicit 'Official Opposition' - at the behest of the less than 40 percent, or a minority, of the electorate.

But let's put all that aside, shall we? Let's instead look at the numbers for voter turnout, as taken from Elections Canada's Estimation of Voter Turnout by Age Group reports for the 2004, 2006 and 2008 federal elections.

18-2425-3435-4445-5455-6465-7475+
Jun 200437.0%44.0%54.5%66.0%72.9%75.5%63.9%
Jan 200643.8%49.8%61.6%70.0%75.4%77.5%61.6%
Oct 200837.4%48.0%53.9%59.7%65.6%68.4%67.3%

In terms of percentage points, there has been a much greater decline in voting among members of the electorate between the ages of 45 and 74 than among those between 18 and 34.

But far be it from me to suggest that anyone let these numbers get in the way of their blame-the-youth campaign!

[Cross-posted at Challenging the Commonplace]