A new online campaign launched in Vancouver that aims to encourage citizens to get out and vote in the upcoming B.C. municipal elections on November 15. Promote the Vote is a non-partisan movement of everyday Canadians increasing voter turnout through dialogue with each other. Instead of the traditional outreach of speaking directly to people who do not vote, Promote the Vote asks people who already vote to go one step further and encourage their family and friends to cast their ballots as well.
Voting turnout across Canada has been in the decline over the recent years, as low as 33 per cent at the municipal level in some major cities (under 35 per cent in the City of Vancouver’s 2011 election). Concerned by this lack of civic engagement, Promote the Vote’s founder, Patrick Lee, wants to reverse this trend by strengthening localized and effective conversations about the civic elections to increase voter turnout.
“There are many different reasons why people don’t vote, including apathy and disenchantment with the political process,“ Lee explained. “It is hard for a TV spot or bus advertisement to change that, but a two-way conversation with a friend or family member just might.”
The campaign is based on two ideas: voter turnout is so low that everyone knows someone who does not vote, and people are more likely to listen to people they know and trust.
Promote the Vote wants everyday Canadians to be voting champions in their community. By simply pledging to have a conversation about voting to a family member, coworker or neighbour who does not vote, Canadians can share why voting is important to them and gain understanding of different perspectives.
Promote the Vote is not politically affiliated; instead, it advocates the use of dialogic processes for creating engaging and inclusive conversations about civic responsibility. The pledge can be taken at Promote the Vote’s website at promotethevote.ca.