Wow! Pretty impressive victory for Conservative Premier Ed Stelmach who took over the leadership in 2006 from former leaders Ralph Klein and Peter Lougheed whom began political reign in Alberta in 1971. Eleven straight victories is quite the accomplishment for any organization let alone a political party. After capturing 72 of 83 available seats, and increasing their popular vote, by roughly six percent, I was a little surprised to see a low voter turnout, but 41 percent failing to vote was actually shocking. Alberta media outlets report Monday's results as the lowest voter turnout experienced in their provincial elections. In 2003 New Brunswick saw its largest decline since 1967 with a measly 69 percent of registered voters turning out to cast their ballots.
I suppose there are a number of reasons why people fail to make it to the polling stations, but today's system is more convenient than previous elections years. With advance polling stations offered to absentee voters on election day and special ballots for those who cannot physically make it to the polling booth - what gives?
I once heard that if you don't vote you lose your right to speak up. I am convinced that's hardly the case today given that many people from other provinces still call and write to me about issues concerning New Brunswick. So, is voting becoming lost in a generational disconnect between politicians and youth? Is the public that cynical and disenchanted with politicians and party politics that they just don't care anymore? Or is there some other reason why voters aren't making it out to vote?
I'll let you decide.