Markham voting study suggests more people vote when voting is easy (as in, voting from your living room easy)

Markham voting study suggests more people vote when voting is easy (as in, voting from your living room easy)

(Image: Alberto Garcia) 

Markham has made voting in municipal elections as easy as indicating your preference for hockey over politics, an experiment that has apparently shaken some non-voters out of their complacency. The city offers online voting for advanced polls, and a recent report finds that—surprise—making voting easy and hassle free can result in significantly more people casting ballots.

The Toronto Star has the story:

Voter turnout at advance polls increased by 300 per cent in 2003 and continued to increase through the 2006 and 2010 elections. Michelle Huycke was among those early online voters in Markham last year.

She was among the 91 per cent of Internet voters who cast their ballot from home and among the 99 per cent who were satisfied with the online voting process.

“I didn’t have to find out where I was going to vote, or leave the house or worry about making it to the poll on time,” said Huycke, 64. “Plus it’s easy and you don’t have to wait in line.”

Of course, we probably could have told Elections Canada that making voting easier would lead to increased voter turnout (overall, voter turnout in Markham rose from 26.7 per cent in 2003 to 36 per cent in 2010). But obvious or not, it’s probably not a bad thing to see more people casting their ballot, although the report does say that Internet voting appears to be declining among young people. Next up: voting on Facebook.

Internet voting in advance polls a great success in Markham, report finds [Toronto Star]
A Comparative Assessment of Electronic Voting [Elections Canada]