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Many people 'too busy' to vote, others forgot

Six percent of the people who failed to vote in the May 12 provincial election just plain forgot.

That's just one of the findings of the Post-Election Voter/Non-Voter Satisfaction Survey conducted for Elections B.C. following the vote.

Some 35 percent of the non-voters surveyed said the main reason they did not vote was 'personal', including people who were busy, out of town or sick. Seven percent were pessimistic about their vote making a difference and 29 percent were “disengaged” with the process or politics in general.

Asked what would make them more likely to vote, 34 percent said a change of political parties would help.

For those who did vote, most said the main reason they voted was the issues (39 percent). Others said they saw it as a responsibility (28 percent) or part of their belief in democracy (28 percent).

Voters were more likely than non-voters to have a post-secondary education (56 percent vs. 47 percent) and to be over 55 years old (49 percent vs. 20 percent).

The May provincial election saw voter turnout drop. Chief Electoral Officer Harry Neufeld said at the time that with roughly half of eligible voters casting a ballot, turnout was in the range where "alarm bells go off."

Surveyors conducted interviews with 1,500 eligible voters, half of whom had voted and half of whom had not. (The surveyors contacted 11,798 possible respondents, 10,298 of whom refused to participate, to find the 1,500 people.)

The full survey results are available from Elections BC.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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