Why was voter turnout so low in Windsor?

The votes have been cast and counted and the winners have been declared. It was a very exciting election for the City of Windsor, with a new mayor and many new incumbents vying for seats on Council. And yet, despite of this all, voter turnout dropped to 37.5 %,

Why was the voter turnout so low? There have been some very interesting investigations into this question. Carolyn Thompson in her article, Who Voted for Dilkens? (The Windsor Star, Oct 30, 2014 ) looked closer at the polls to see where support from the leading mayoral candidates, summarized the voter turnout by ward:

Voter turnout in 2014
Ward 1 – 47.5%
Ward 2 – 28%
Ward 3 – 27.5%
Ward 4 – 35.5%
Ward 5 – 33.5%
Ward 6 – 42.8%
Ward 7 – 42.6%
Ward 8 – 32.9%
Ward 9 – 38.7%
Ward 10 – 42.8%

Now, let’s keep those numbers in mind when we consider that in this election, only four of the ten wards of the City of Windsor had candidates that had over 50% support of those who voted.

(Want to see which wards had councillors with over 50% of the vote: see the Why Ranked Ballots in Windsor maps )

In the latest issue of The Urbanite, a number of writers also asked themselves about the decline in voting in Windsor. Timothy Dugdale, in his letter, Where have all the voters gone? wrote:

“I believe the Silent 60 is an ominous canary in our coalmine. Any candidate who won on Oct. 27 should take a moment to reflect on his or her victory. Is it really a win? Windsor simply can’t afford a massive segment of wasted and disenfranchised human capital…”

He goes to end his letter:

“Bring on ranked ballots. Bring on Internet voting. Help people help themselves to participate in their own governance.”

We at Ranked Ballots Windsor agree with this overall sentiment (we’re still investigating Internet Voting). We believe that some of the low turnout can be attributed to disenfranchised voters.

We believe that Ranked Ballots is a simple change worth pursuing because it will make more votes “count” for more people.

Thanks to you for your support. We’ll be in touch about next steps!