Despite mediocre results, at best, with a 49.52 percent return rate, town council on Monday night voted to stick with the mail-in ballot system for the next municipal election in November, 2003.
One cannot fault council for trying to generate a better voter turnout for municipal elections, which traditionally ranks behind the number of eligible voters who cast ballots in federal and provincial ones.
Council also has a responsibility to conduct the election in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Whether the mail-in system (in which people also can drop off their ballots in person at either the Civic Centre, Rainycrest, and La Verendrye hospital) is the best method remains to be seen.
But frankly, barring the town going door-to-door to collect people’s ballots, voting in municipal elections couldn’t be much easier, especially since people have from Oct. 23 to Nov. 13 to vote instead of being limited to two advance polls and election day itself.
Rather, what’s needed is an onus on us—the voters—to take the time to make our choice.
It’s our democratic right. It’s also our civic responsibility. Choosing the men and women to be entrusted with leading our community, or overseeing our children’s education, for the next three years should never be taken lightly, nor sloughed off as an inconvenience.
And really, what right do we have to complain about a decision or policy if we didn’t make the effort to voice our opinion when it really counts—at the ballot box.
Mail-in balloting alone won’t increase voter turnout. That’s something that falls directly on all our shoulders—no matter what voting method is used.