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Election/Referendum results thoughts

– The Liberals more or less did what the polls said they would do. Congratulations to Dalton and his team for being the first back-to-back Liberal majority government in Ontario in over 70 years. I’m also pleased to see Maria Van Bommel win here in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, and George Smitherman, who I was helping out a bit as well.

– I’m real surprised at John Tory’s intention of staying on as leader even though he was defeated in his own riding. I wonder if that bravado will change once he meets with his caucus, who wont be happy with his faith-based funding strategy being put out there and made so prominent in the campaign. I’m slightly less surprised at Howard Hampton staying on.. but he got elected at least, and increased his seats and popular vote percentage. The Greens also did very well, even though they didn’t win any seats. Specifically for the Greens, Shane Jolley got 34% of the vote in Huron-Gray-Bruce for a strong 2nd place showing, so congrats to him.

– I’m obviously disappointed at the apparent results of the electoral reform referendum. I’ve heard tonight on TVO from one of the analysts that she saw a lot of voters come in to vote at the advance polls and STILL didn’t know anything about the referendum question or the proposed new system when they saw the question, which tells you how ineffective Elections Ontario was at getting the message out there. Fittingly, the Elections Ontario website has been unable to show either election results OR referendum results because of apparent high bandwidth – which shows they know how to run a website as well as they do an information campaign on a referendum. I’m of the belief a lot of people voted to retain the current system out of lack of information rather then outright rejection – but it will be interesting to see how many voters actually voted on the question as opposed to the actual election.

– Of Ontario’s eligible voters, only 50% voted tonight in the province – a historic low, down 4% from 2003. In some regions, it was down in the 40’s. In the GTA, 48% of eligible voters cast their ballots. In Windsor, it was at 41%, which is not much better then municipal election turnout numbers. I’ll be interested to hear those advocating for the status quo explain how this shows how great and healthy First-Past-The Post is. I’ll also be interested to see what reforms they will advocate for improving our current system since MMP was defeated. I’ll be quite shocked, quite frankly, if we see much of anything. There are principled people on the NO side who want reforms but who couldn’t accept the proposed system. There are many others who will be just as happy to do absolutely nothing and want to keep the current system untouched and who will claim there’s nothing broken, but a 50% turnout rate is disgraceful, and this needs to be addressed in some manner, and it cannot be ignored.

UPDATE: I kind of like the chat feature on here. I think I may keep it active for both this site and for the progressive Bloggers main site.

UPDATE 2: I was actually too high on the voter turnout: From the now working Elections Ontario website, we find this glum stat: only 48% of eligible voters cast ballots tonight, and even less voted on the proposed referendum question – approximately 39.9%.

UPDATE 3, 10:39am: For my No-MMP colleagues,  voter turnout has edged up slightly – still a historic low in Ontario – and the MMP proposal did get voted on by 50.3% of Ontarions – still not very good, and still hardly a sign that democracy under FPTP is very healthy in Ontario.

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11 comments to Election/Referendum results thoughts

  • In the interests of history it might be worth noting that it was Mitch Hepburn who last won back to back Liberal majorities in the election of 1937.  It is somewhat ironic that Hepburn won his first term in 1934 partially on a promise to deal more fairly with Catholic schools.

  • Sylvia

    Voter turnout in Lambton, Kent, Middlesex was  59.79% of the eligible voters.  The riding where I was a poll clerk exceded 70%.  Total eligible voters 70,421, number that cast their ballots 42,108.  That’s a very representative showing and reflects the wishes of the people that live in that riding.  If people don’t like the results, that’s too bad.   People voted not to reform how elections are won and lost and if they didn’t explain it well enough, whose fault is that?  Definitely not the voters.  I found the new system difficult to understand…either a simpler explanation has to be found or voters will justifiably reject it.  MMP was defeated against a much simpler system that people understand.   

  • Andrew Gibson

    I heard about some what ifs on last nights results; as in IF we already had these reforms in place these would have been the results. Anyone got the figures on that??
    I suspect comparisons that show what the outcome WOULD have been might sway a lot of people!

  • It’s dead in Ontario – for now.  Hopefully electoral reform won’t be dead in Ontario, but as I said, the status quo’ers and backroom boys will probably do absolutely nothing to address  the flaws in the FPTP system because of this.

    That won’t stop us who believe in electoral reform from pointing those flaws in the archaic FPTP system out.

  • Joseph Angolano

    Scott,

    Please fix up your numbers and check the EO website. Voter turnout inched over 53% and the referendum turnout is over 50% – and there are still some polls that have yet to report.

    MMP is dead in Ontario. And please don’t say that it is FPTP to blame for low voter turnout. Your three posts above mine have excellent ideas that will help spike voter turnout. Having the election on October 10 is a big mistake, and I recommend highly that the date be moved.

  • Dan

    Timothy,

    In many jurisdictions votes are held on the weekend. I’m not sure why we do it midweek, but a weekend vote makes sense.

  • Timothy Webster

    You bring up a very good point. Many people spend most of their day at work, which may not be anywhere close to their voting location. How do we fix this? Make election day a holiday. Would that help?

    <b>the entire GTA got rained on during the crucial 5-8 pm shift when everyone was coming home from work. WTF wants to go out in the rain and the dark?</b>

  • I’m thinking the low turnout might’ve been due to the campaign beginning in the summer when school was out, so no parent was paying attention until mid-September, and lots of university students who had just moved, would have had trouble with voter registration due to the timing. Also the fact that during the campaign we had 3 Jewish holidays, the beginning of Ramadan, and just prior to E-Day, the Thanksgiving long weekend. The weekend before that was another long weekend caused by PD Days throughout the entire public school system, in which every child from JK-8 in the province was shuffled around after class sizes were rejigged, teachers were reassigned, and as a result every family in the province spent the last week in an uproar.

    This was also the first election in which picture ID or 2 pieces of other ID was required, and every election official in this country has testified that requiring ID will lower voter turnout. Between people who don’t drive, and people who forget their wallets at home, it’s a pretty good way to discourage a voter.

    And on E-Day, the entire GTA got rained on during the crucial 5-8 pm shift when everyone was coming home from work. WTF wants to go out in the rain and the dark?

    You and I are dedicated. I would vote if I had to crawl through broken glass to do it. Most average people have lives. We have to make it easy for them.

    In all the years I’ve been campaigning, I’ve never seen such a perfect confluence of events happen. Frankly, I’m impressed that many people voted.

  • The "good" news in MMP being defeated is that there’s nothing stopping the winning party from implementing it, or a better proportional system, without a referendum.

  • Deb Prothero

    The 50% turnout must be addressed. Maybe Dalton will feel some compulsion to reconvene the Citizens’ Assembly???

  • On John Tory ……

    Some argue that it’s bravado that’s keeping Mr. Tory around. I don’t think so – it’s his first term in Opposition, and some would have argued that it was bravado that kept a Mr. McGuinty around after his first term in Opposition.

    Make no mistake…

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