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Exercise Your Right to Vote in Kingston

City of Kingston, municipal election, voter turnoutLadies and gentlemen, Kingston’s 2010 municipal election is but one week away. Well, that’s not entirely true as ballots have already been cast thanks to advance polling that occurred on the 16th of October.  You can rock the vote this week, on Wednesday, October 20th (10am to 8pm), or hold out until the final polling date, which is scheduled for next Monday, October 25th (10am to 8pm).  There are upwards of 26 polling stations scattered throughout the Limestone City, at least 2 per district. Do you know where your polling station is and what you need to bring to be allowed to vote?  On the big day you’ll be expected to indicate your choice for Mayor, your district’s councillor, as well as a School Board Trustee.  Have you reviewed the full list of candidates, or determined who you’ll be voting for?  Over the past few months we’ve touched on the key issues, and speculated as who will be sitting in the Mayor’s chair next Tuesday. While I would like to think that all of Kingstonist’s readers will stand up and be counted, realistically some people may be apathetic, or otherwise unable to vote. Accordingly this week’s final election-centric poll asks:

Will you vote in the upcoming municipal election?

  • Absolutely. (76%, 77 Votes)
  • Definitely not. (10%, 10 Votes)
  • I'll try, but no promises. (7%, 7 Votes)
  • Haven't decided. (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Unable to vote. (3%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 101

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Official records indicate that turnout for the 2006 municipal election was 38,028 out of 95,262 eligible voters, or a whopping 39.9 percent. Most would agree that those numbers are dreadfully pathetic, but will voter turnout in 2010 be any better? While the City of Kingston has taken steps to ensure that polling stations are accessible, there’s very little they can do to combat indifference or laziness.  According to the City’s Action Plan on Accessibility and Disability Issues, the following opportunities and special provisions are available:

Touch screens will be available for electors with visual impairments. These screens allow electors to use head phones and listen to the list of candidates. The vote is cast on a standard keypad. Traditional ballots will be available for those electors who wish to use them. These will be fed through a poll count tabulator. Votes cast on both machines are stored on a memory card until close of polls on Final Voting Day.

With any luck, when it comes time for the 2014 municipal election in Kingston, residents will be able to cast their vote online.  Imagine sitting down in your PJs and voting while you have your morning coffee, or riding on board a Kingston Transit bus and marking a digital ballot via a connected smartphone.  Such futuristic accessibility isn’t here quite yet, which is why Kingstonist is challenging all our readers not only to vote, but to bring at least one friend along for the democratic ride.  Happy voting Kingston!

Special thanks to Chapendra for today’s photo.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

14 thoughts on “Exercise Your Right to Vote in Kingston

  • October 18, 2010 at 10:42 am
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    For those of you who are definitely not voting, it would be very much appreciated if you could take a few seconds to write a comment and advise why. What's your reason for not voting?

      • October 18, 2010 at 7:17 pm
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        My own prediction for voter turnout for this election is 44.7%. I'm not going to bore you with my long-winded rationale for how I came up with that number (yes, I'm conserving words… I must be ill).

        • October 18, 2010 at 9:57 pm
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          Haha. Hmmm, well if we're taking bets I am going to split the difference and say 40%. I think that's a bit optimistic, but I'm hoping for a small increase in comparison to our last time out to the polls.

  • October 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm
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    If you look at the negligible candidate twitter numbers or tiny number who have clicked on polls on some of their sites…we are still a ways a way from online media playing a role of any significance in the municipal election.

    The jury is still out on whether even online voting would increase participation http://www.thestar.com/news/torontomayoralrace/ar

    I think turnout will be down a bit in Kingston. No defining issue, and a lot of "Don't like any candidate", or "its obvious who will win".

  • October 19, 2010 at 5:48 am
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    As for percentages, I'd say a bit lower than last time. On my street I didn't see one election sign until a week ago. Not the best omen. I know there's low turnout for Municipal elections and I don't know if having electronic voting would increase it much. Can't hurt to try. This article had a story that even surprised me on low voter turnout amongst young people.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/apat

    MacMaster had a polling station on campus in 2004. Which would take away any excuse of how far it was from them. How many students came out to vote? 10. Not a typo, less than a dozen.

  • October 19, 2010 at 9:30 am
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    I truly hope that more people vote this time than voted last time. In 2006 6 out of 10 people decided to stay home. That's tragic.

  • October 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm
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    "With any luck, when it comes time for the 2014 municipal election in Kingston, residents will be able to cast their vote online."

    Please no. Online voting opens up more problems then it solves.

  • October 20, 2010 at 10:01 am
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    I predict a lower than 2006 turnout since there isn't any contentious issue, and none of the Mayoral Candidates are inspiring people to get involved. They may be asking for involvement, this is much different than inspiring people.

  • October 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm
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    Too bad voter turnout is so low in Kingston – similar to most other small cities in Ontario. Unfortunately small cities like Kingston (and the suburbs of Toronto for that matter) don't get the sort of media attention as Toronto (which will likely see high voter turnout because of Rob Ford) or perhaps Ottawa, so voters tend not to be aware of the issues and there is high voter apathy. An egregious example is Halton Hills (outer suburb of Toronto) where the current mayor has been acclaimed because no one bothered to ran against him. We need more media attention given to local politics in smaller cities in Ontario!

  • October 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm
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    I can't vote as permanent residents don't get a vote. Now I have no (well, less of a) problem with that in national elections, but I certainly do think that those of us who are all-year round residents and live, work and pay taxes in the local area should be able to vote locally.

    On the other hand, it seems that some can have two (or more) votes by having a permanent residence and a seasonal one. Basically, I get no representation and yet wealthy seasonal cottage owners effectively buy themselves another vote.

  • October 26, 2010 at 1:01 am
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    Well, it looks like the turnout was pathetically low and Gerretsen walked it. Surprise, surprise… acclamation is a total failure of democracy but someone being elected Mayor by what amounts to 15% of the electorate is not really much better.

  • October 26, 2010 at 8:47 am
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    Might I suggest that the voting procedure could use an upgrade? Yes there might be challenges, but online voting should become standard voting procedure. The current system is so damn archaic. I bet for our North American culture of laziness, online voting would promote a far higher 'turnout'.

    I voted. The only difference this time around was the spanky new black cardboard privacy folders you were supposed to use. Wow, what a technological breakthrough in voting!

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