Rocco Rossi appeals to non-voters in well thought-out plan

Rocco Rossi appeals to non-voters in well thought-out plan

Rocco Rossi reaches out to non-voters (Image: Rocco Rossi) 

The Rocco Rossi campaign is doing its level best to introduce new ideas to the mayoral race: after announcing his support for voter recall last Monday, he’s now calling for term limits and Internet voting. Rossi proposes that councillors be limited to no more than 12 years in a council seat before they would have to make way for somebody else; former council members could come back and run again later. We like the idea of a time out from council—or what the rest of us call “the real world”—but we’re a bit skeptical of the Internet voting thing.

The Globe and Mail has some background:

Mr. Rossi also promised to introduce online voting, something his rival deputy mayor Joe Pantalone has also pledged to do. Both candidates cited abysmally low voter turnout among the city’s youth as a substantial reason for letting voters cast their ballots online. Mr. Rossi said it would also help seniors with mobility issues.

Markham introduced online voting in 2003 and found that although it raised voter turnout, a poll following the 2006 election found that 80 per cent of online voters had voted in the previous election. Markham’s 2006 voter turnout was still 37.6 per cent.

The changes that Rossi is recommending would need provincial action to become a reality. This reminds us that it’s just as easy to vote in provincial elections as it is in municipal ones—and provincial elections have way higher turnouts. Maybe low voter interest is the issue, not voting obstacles?

The other problem, as far as the Rossi campaign is concerned, is that promising to raise turnout with stuff he can only do if he’s elected doesn’t help much this time around. If he’s hoping to eclipse the front-runners in this race, he might want to aim for voters who have shown a willingness to get off the couch.

• Rossi returns to “Three Rs” of voter reform – Respect, Results, Recall [Rocco Rossi for Mayor]

• Rossi pledges term limits for city’s elected politicians [Globe and Mail]

• Rossi vows mandatory term limits [Toronto Sun]