37.81 per cent. That’s all that took the time in District 1 to head to the polls and cast their right to vote.

Why? Why was the turnout just 5,959 voters of an eligible 15,762 voters. Why are the other 10,000 people in Waverley-Fall River-Musquodoboit Valley who didn’t think they should go vote for one of the six worthy candidates that were vying for Barry Dalrymple’s seat.

What reason was there for the decrease from 43.40 per cent which put the riding as tops in the HRM for voter turnout. In 2012 6,800 voters cast their vote. It’s easier then ever to do voting in HRM with e-voting, advance polls, and even voting by phone.

Do we need to be under a dictatorship in order for us to give two hoots why we need to vote? It certainly seems that way. I know I don’t want to, but it may just take that.

It was kind of the total opposite in District 14 Middle/Upper Sackville, Beaver Bank, Lucasville, where advance voter turnout was up by almost 20 per cent from 2012. In that riding there was just three candidates running, Kevin Copley, incumbent Brad Johns, and Lisa Blackburn.

In 2012, there was just 4,373 who voted—or 28.45 per cent. There was just a slight increase in 2016, with 4,829 people casting a vote, or about 29.82 per cent. It’s an increase, even if it’s a small one.

There have people who posted on social media in the hours (and days) that followed the election that they were unaware there was an election going on? How is that even possible? There were campaign signs, posters, things on TV/radio/online. But I understand why people may have thought there wasn’t anything. The media play was not as great as if it was a provincial or federal election.

Some said the media coverage was non-existent. I would disagree with those people.

There was plenty of coverage, between the district profiles done by Zane Woodford in Metro Halifax in which he spoke to one person in each of HRM’s riding about the issues; to the district profiles in The Coast. Heck, I have been covering the candidates since March when we started profiles on the six in District 1 and three in District 14, only finishing up in the October issue of The Laker.

I know and understand people’s lives are busy, but are they too busy to give a vote that matters? We all get out and vote provincially and federally, when in reality it’s the municipal government that matters in our day-to-day lives. There the ones that a lot of are issues come from, thus the vote should matter.

But alas, it seems all that has fallen on deaf ears as more and more seem to be less engaged. And that’s a real shame.

Whatever the reason for the low turnout, there needs to be a change. People need to be engaged with what their municipal government is doing and care, because it’s what they do and the decisions they and they only make that affect us the most. If they don’t I can only see this trend of less and less voters voting—their God given right-and that doesn’t bold well for elections of the future.

  • Pat Healey