Voting as a right and responsibility

“People have spoken” as they say, votes have been cast and counted and we have a new administration at the helm.

“People have spoken” as they say, votes have been cast and counted and we have a new administration at the helm.

There are several interesting factors many of which you might have already read in the cover story.

Without a doubt, the most important of them is the thinnest of majorities, just one, that will allow Rick Bonnett to lead the town (if he keeps the position after the recount which is likely to be demanded by Doug Gill). Another is the fact that women members will be a majority for the next four years, unless some unforeseen circumstances lead to a change in the composition of the council.

How his razor thin majority will affect Rick Bonnet’s ability to lead and whether the new majority of women in the decision makers’ seats will introduce the kind of change this town wants and needs will likely be discussed intensely in the weeks ahead.

But let’s stop and think for a moment on a less interesting component of the election picture, the election turnout.

According to the initial figures made available to the Ponoka News shortly after the voting process ended, only about 36 per cent of the eligible voters cast their ballots in the town elections and it was not very different in the county vote, either.

Now, the question is: “Do the voters who haven’t bothered to go to the polling stations and failed to exercise their democratic rights have any justification to complain if things do not take a turn for the better in this community?”

In any representative democracy, voting is as much a responsibility as it is a right; those who dodge that responsibility will have to accept the results created by those who fulfill it.

Low voter interest and increasing apathy regarding elections are not good signs for a democracy.

Let’s hope that the change in the election code allowing the incumbents to sit for four years instead of three might reverse that trend the next time around.

 

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