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Letters: Voter survey needed now in Richmond

A Richmond News reader and former election candidate feels the city needs to find out why so few voters turn out at the ballot box

Dear Editor,

Clearly lots of work went into planning, preparing and delivering a local election that met all requirements in conducting such an important event for our democracy. As was highlighted, 35,093 ballots were cast in the 2022 Richmond Local Election representing a 24.4 per cent voter turnout. Likely not the lowest voter turnout, yet a disturbing trend.

According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, “higher voter turnout is in most cases a sign of the vitality of democracy, while lower turnout is usually associated with voter apathy and mistrust of the political process.” Yet they also suggest voters may, instead of voting, be simply switching to other forms of direct and indirect participation: protests, occupy movements and social media. 

City council has a key role in shifting this voter turnout trend in a more positive direction. The most important action the city can take now is to conduct a comprehensive survey of residents to provide facts and insights into why voters did and did not vote. This research will provide important data to base future decisions and changes on.

Jerome Dickey


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