Municipal Election 2006

Investigating Low Voter Turnout

By Ben Bull
Published October 16, 2006

A recent Toronto Star article highlights the alarmingly low voter turnout for non-white immigrants in the GTA.

Among the many startling statistics is the revelation that densely populated non-white immigrant areas, like Rexdale's Jamestown, Mount Dennis in York, the Scarborough communities of Malvern and Agincourt, Kensington-Chinatown in Toronto, and Flemingdon Park in North York, contain the most apathetic voters in the GTA. Only 28 percent voted in the last municipal election.

Contrast that to the affluent white middle class areas of Kingsway, Leaside, Lawrence Park, Bloor West Village, Riverdale and High Park. Turnout here averaged 47 per cent in 2003.

In typical in-depth reporting fashion, Toronto's City TV collared 3 new immigrants walking down the street and asked them why they didn't vote. The replies were:

The voting figures, compiled by Ryerson University's urban politics professor Myer Siemiatycki, tell a clearer story. I suspect this story is pretty much the same for Hamilton too.

The questions are:

  1. Why don't non-white immigrants vote? and
  2. What can be done to encourage a higher turnout?

There are very important implications for all municipalities in these sorry statistics.

Another Article of Interest

Should non-citizen residents be allowed to vote in municipal elections?, Oct. 14, 2006. 01:00 AM

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By howboy (anonymous) | Posted October 17, 2006 at 22:27:52

those comments are precious... a lot of people think those things but vote anywaybut i somehow doubt that they/we really believe the opposite:

1. politicians have great integrity
2. i feel really represented
3. politics rock my world

;)

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