Why voter turnout is so important

Increasing civic election turnouts has become something of a mantra for media and social commentators the past few years. Urging a good voter turnout is like saying the sky should be blue.

But why is a high voter turnout so important? No matter what the turnout, after all, democracy marches on. Those who vote get to make the decision. Those who don’t, they say, have no right to complain.

That, however, is not the right way to think about it. It’s not about big voter turnouts for the sake of big turnouts. A low turnout can actually change the result of an election, whereas a solid turnout provides a fairer, better result.

The reason is that with low turnouts you never know whose supporters are going to vote and whose will stay home. It’s good to take an active interest in local elections but supporting a candidate without voting for him or her on election day isn’t ultimately going to aid the democratic process.

A good turnout reflects the true wishes of the electorate; apathy is an enemy. With civic terms now four years, it’s more important than ever to make good choices.

Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 15 is our chance to do ourselves proud but taking part in democracy at the close-to-home local level. Voting is a good thing to do; let’s all invest in the little time it takes on a Saturday to be part of the decision.

— Also published in The Armchair Mayor News

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