Monday, March 10, 2014

Voter Turnout....Are The 'Young' Really The Problem?



I'm reading the Dean's latest VSun column about how it was old people who have been giving pollsters the night terrors ever since they handed control of this province to the Snooklandians last May.

So, as you might expect, the header above the piece says 'To The Aged Go The Spoils'.

And, of course, the flipside to all of this is that is the fault of the young, which is pretty much the gist of Mr. Palmer's column (when he isn't doing his best to gently let pollsters off the hook).

Except then I read the following:

...Turnout was up overall from the previous election and the most impressive jump was with youngest group of registered voters, those aged 18 to 24. In 2009, less than 40 per cent of them cast ballots — this time, almost half of them did...

Which got me to thinking....

Is it really people's age when they are 25-49 that keeps their voting numbers down.


Is it the fact that they are the folks in our society who most likely to be working for a living?


Can somebody remind me again why we hold provincial elections during the week again?

(and, why, exactly can't the polls be open for two or even three days?)

And Dippers....Have you asked yourselves, who amongst you could make that 18-24 vote jump even higher? (and maybe even make it stretch out to 29?)



ron wilton said...

I think a truer picture of voting patterns and perhaps a clearer explanation of the decline and fall of the opposition in BC would be to examine not just age divisions and preferences but ethnic influence and distribution throughout the province as well as male versus female representation.

scotty on denman said...

Ironic how Citizens' Initiative laws were themselves initiated by binding referendum put on the ballot by a paleo-right government, a futile cookie to an angry electorate, but mostly to beggar the ascendant NDP once it'd won (remember 'total recall'?)--ironic because two decades later it was finally turned to good effect in rescinding the HST scam perpetrated by a neo-right government. Electoral manipulation beyond normal friendly persuasion or dire warning has been deployed by neo-rightists for over three decades to attain power, to keep it until all impediments to rampant profiteering are obliterated and to prevent future governments from ever getting in their way again. Lying, gerrymandering, etc. are old hat; Citizens' Initiatives are the double-edged sword of desperately unpopular administrations. Gordo's overweening promotion of STV pretty much proves he believed it would weaken future governments by almost guaranteeing successive minorities too weak or preoccupied to harry business interests--and it got decisively rejected the second try. Heard a lot about 'voter suppression' by way of extremely negative electioneering; it's supposed to turn voters off of voting which, theory says, benefits the right. Certainly fooled the BC NDP into trying to distinguish itself as a 'positive' alternative---and they got stomped. Fixed-election dates are a neo-right idea, too: makes for lazy Oppositions which spend most of their time keeping their powder dry for the 'big day'. The HST Referendum was by mail-in ballot with so many loose ends it was impossible to discern by what margin it was rejected (I say the BC Liberals were anxious to make it close, like the split was on partisan lines, when the real results probably showed the HST was broadly rejected across the board---and it was too big, even using the veracity-challenged mail-in, to fudge an artificial win without getting caught). Whilst Christy was lying about an early election should she win the leadership, she also got all maudlin about low voter turnout among youth and promptly, with her usual dearth of forethought, commissioned the Chief Electoral Officer to look into online voting as a way to attract youth to perform the essential democratic act. Fortunately Chief Archer's report quickly poured a bucket of water on that notion: nowhere in the world has online voting improved youth turnout, which was good because Christy was pawning youthful voters as an excuse to install online voting, a system so fraught with veracity, security and fraud issues it can't hold a candle to our personally registered, hand-counted, scrutinized and re-countable paper ballot system, the cadillac of systems. Plenty of ulterior motive here. His report's online and deftly dispenses with the list of online proponents' hackneyed arguments, like getting youth to vote. It's an interesting, short, easy read that everyone should check out.

If you want youth to vote, give them something to vote for---on a paper ballot.

James King, Victoria said...

The thing is, Ross, I don't think anyone, on the basis of the data the dean is trotting out here, can draw any meaningful conclusion(s) from the way slices of the electorate turn out to cast their ballots. One 'might' have been able to do that if the electoral results had more closely paralleled the pre-election polling (and that polling - understood according to demographic slices - had reflected the result in the event)...But it didn't and without something more concrete which tracks the actual voting of the demographic groups in question one can't really conclude that it was older voters who supported the BC LIberals and younger ones (those who stayed home) who supported the NDP.

It may have been that way - but it could also be just the opposite. In fact, I present the case of Carole James's Victoria Beacon Hill riding (not exactly a young person's hangout) where the NDP got virtually 50% of the vote.

Furthermore, for those of us who go to NDP events from time to time, I'd say the demographic which shows up at such events is not the 15 - 49 group.

Just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Advance polling was four days plus the election day itself for a total of five days to cast your ballot. Really if you can't find the time to vote over a five day period, then why should anyone bother to try and cater to you. No excuses.

RossK said...

Good point Anon.

Except those polls weren't always right around the corner IIRC.

Thanks everybody above - great analysis. I wasn't actually trying to go there, just trying to point out that it might not actually be the 'young' (and as is often implied the 'shiftless') that vote least.



Anonymous said...

@6:44 and RossK

...and because this demographic isn't already highly mobile or flush with coin--amidst much self-congratulation and fanfare, polling booths were dropped from the sky to grace Nocred ground-zero:

RossK said...

Forgot about that one.

Thanks SH.