Following up on the Local Government Elections Taskforce recommendations
The Local Government Elections Task Force delivered its 31 recommendations for improvements to local election on May 28, 2010. Two matters are of particular interest to the VPSN.
- Our submission to the Task Force argued against the re-introduction of the corporate vote and we are very pleased that the Task Force agreed with our argument.
- Our submission urged the Task Force to, in turn, urge the Province to address the matters of the declining rate of municipal voter turnout, stating that we believe that voter apathy is overcome only when citizens believe their vote matters. We deeply regret that the Task Force did not address this matter. We will need to find new ways to remind government of the need to address this.
On another note, we wonder how the Task Force recommendation to change the length of ‘term of office’ to four years might impact the issue of voter turnout. The Task Force didn’t indicate why four years is better than three; rather, the rationale seems to be to have municipal elections conform to provincial and federal practice, and the practice in other provinces.
The idea raises some interesting questions. Will this longer period prompt voters to feel even less engaged if they are called on to vote less frequently? Will elected officials assume that voters will forget promises made four years prior? In other words, how will four-year terms better serve citizens?