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Prof Concerned About Voter Turnout

Distrust in politicians, acclamation and lack of knowledge of candidates don't help

A Brock University Political Science professor expects declining voter turnout to continue to get worse.

Livianna Tossuti points out it's been going down since the 1980s, with roughly 38 percent of voters taking part four years ago.

She admits there are a number of reasons including declining trust voters have in politicians and institutions. 

"It's doubling difficult at the municipal level to even know how to participate in an informed way because people are presented with a ballot with many, many names on it, and it's hard for people to find out information about the candidates.", she says.

The university professor reasons the best way to fight this trend is for people to become involved with the political process, which increases competition.

She also points to fewer young people becoming involved, as well as more candidates being acclaimed at the municipal level.  "A lot of the nastiness we've seen in politics recently over social media has certainly made it less appetizing.  So that combined with these other long-term factors, and generational issues are contributing to lower turnout.", she says.

Those from diverse backgrounds and women appear to be targeted, forcing some to spend time and resources navigating threats.

The Hamilton police hate crimes unit is investigating three incidents in relation to the election, including a racist sticker placed on a Black council candidate's campaign ad.

Tossuti does not think on-line voting is much better due to security issues as well as the system having technical problems.


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