Monday, December 10, 2012

Giving Election agencies a bigger role in elections

We have Elections BC provincially and Elections Canada federally that run our elections.   They are the agencies that run our elections, but are also tasked with getting people out to vote.   It is this second role that they could do a lot better a job with.

One way we could improve voter engagement is to have some of the core public interests in elections taken over by the elections agencies.   Research shows that a lot of people do not vote because they do not feel like they know enough about the candidates to be able to vote for them and getting good information is not easy.  Provincially there are things Elections BC could do to improve this situation.

Many people want there to be good all candidates meetings, what if Elections BC took on the task of running all-candidates forums for the public to come and meet the people running in the election?    These all candidates could be videoed and kept online by elections BC so that the public could watch them.

Since Elections BC is mailing to every voter, why not allow each candidate to put a brochure in with the stuff?  It means every serious candidate has an equal footing to at least get some of their information in front of the public.

Online Elections BC could have a website for each riding with the history of the voting and with links to all the online and social media from the candidates.

Elections BC could also take on the task of the leaders debate.   One important part would be setting clear rules who gets to be in the debate.    The debate could then be required broadcasting province wide on all commercial TV and radio stations while at the same time being kept available on the Elections BC website.

How do we fund this?  If we have each candidate have to pay to run that would cover a lot of it.   Or, each candidate has to pay Elections BC the equivalent of 10% of what they spent on the election.  It is also important remember that Elections BC already spends money to trying to get people to vote, some of those resources could be diverted to getting voters more and better information about the candidates.


Ian said...

Increasing the cost of running in an election will disenfranchise marginalized communities further and raise the bar for people from low income backgrounds to afford to run (since their core supporters will also likely be impoverished). Funding via general revenues is more equitable.

Anonymous said...

Would the agency be able to compel participation by the candidates?

It could be easily funded by reducing the tax deduction on the contributions to the parties that the public makes.