When Should We Vote?

I got into a Twitter fight today with someone who said that election day should  be a public holiday, claiming this would encourage more participation. The fight erupted because he refused to provide any evidence for this claim, and he didn’t care for the evidence against the idea that I wanted to discuss.  He dismissed me and any discussion of evidence in such a rude manner I thought for a moment I was dealing with Donald Trump or Christie Clark. Anyway it persuaded me to write this short piece.

Before I say anything else, let me say that I can see a real benefit in changing our election dates to the weekend, when a lot more people are free from work. No problem with that, and I would encourage such a change. However, there are a lot of problems with having a weekday election that is a public holiday.

  • First, a lot of families would not be happy with losing a day’s pay (or, if it were to be a statutory holiday, a lot of small businesses would be outraged at having to pay for another day off);
  • Second, getting to the voting booth would be more complicated and difficult because transit would be on a reduced holiday schedule. Again, this would harm lower income folks more than those who can afford to drive;
  • Third, with schools closed for the holiday, some families (first responders, transit folks, medical workers, utility maintainers, those with idiot employers etc etc) would still have to work and thus would incur significant additional childcare costs;
  • Fourth, why should those who have to work on that day be inconvenienced in their franchise more than the rest of us?

As it stands, the law obliges employers to give employees substantial time off to vote on election day. In addition, the number of advance polling dates and methods, and polling times have increased greatly over the years; and parties and volunteer groups work hard to assist with mobility issues. To claim that anyone these days is blocked from voting (due to times and dates and places etc) is simply wrong.

If we really have to continue with this faux democracy, I suggest we keep enhancing the opportunities to vote, including electronic voting, work on moving election day to the weekend, and not bother with an inconvenient holiday.



7 Responses to When Should We Vote?

  1. dbarkley2014 says:

    I think we should try mandatory voting, as Australia does. I don’t care whether it is a weekday or not given the mandatory requirement to provide time off to employees to vote, in fact I think I prefer a weekday as many people have errands and other plans in place for their weekends.

  2. jakking says:

    As I am sure you know, I disagree completely. No government should ever force its citizens to do what they don’t want to do. It also hasn’t been a successful strategy except in North Korea or Stalin’s USSR.

  3. George B says:

    Advance voting for all elections continues to grow and should be encouraged further. I went for the mail-in ballot this year but had to push for it as the person from Elections BC felt the need to make me justify why it was difficult for me to vote in person.
    I supplied her with a long list of what’s wrong with their chosen sites in our Inner-City Nbhd.

    For those who receive voting cards in the mail we should move to a system where a code would be included allowing us to vote by mail, over the phone or online as long as we can provide all the evidence we need to vote in person along with our individual voter ID.

    And yes, election day voting should be moved to weekends.
    There was a time when giving employees 4 hours off to vote ( some even get paid ) had merits but that time has past for most people.

    In over 40 years of voting there’s only been 1 time that my vote actually counted toward a party change in the area I was living but I continue to vote because it’s the Right thing to do. Don’t vote, don’t complain.
    For most Canadians it’s only an accident of birth that gave you the Right to vote.

    I still remember the day my First Nations relatives finally got the Right to vote as First Nations Peoples, that was only in 1960 folks thanks to John Diefenbaker, a lot of people were so happy they were crying.

    For those who don’t understand why it’s important to vote perhaps you should talk to some people who had the vote denied to them because they weren’t the right race or fled countries that denied them democracy, often at the point of a gun or starvation.

  4. ericfromferic says:

    As far as I know, this is the first year blind voters could vote by phone. From what I was told, there were adequate safeguards to both prove the identity of the voter as well the privacy of the choice of canditate.

  5. Keith says:

    We need a higher voter turnout. $25 provincial tax credit for voting.
    Money talks.

  6. jakking says:

    Faux democracy always requires bribes of one type or another. Would they issue tax receipts when you vote? How would you encourage those without taxable income (students, seniors etc)?

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