Sunday, December 11, 2005

Voter turnout burnout

So how well is Canada's electoral system working? One gauge is voter turnout:
Looks like a trend to me. (But note that the election dates are evenly spaced along the horizontal axis even though they are not evenly spaced in time.)

In a proportional representation system, there's no danger of wasting one's vote, which I think would encourage a greater turnout.
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Anonymous Joe Dawson said...

In a proportional representation system, there's no danger of wasting one's vote, which I think would encourage a greater turnout.

I couldn’t agree more, and I think it is the most important aspect of the concept.

I think the real question may be in the implementation of the solution and not in the solution itself.

In a basic concept the thory of having a system of proportional representation is a good idea. So is the idea of having a computer system that registers every gun in Canada. The implementation is the tricky part. I mean how complex can a system that takes a serial number of a product and connects it to a person’s name and address be, right.

We want to ensure we have a solution that fits and works, and not change the existing system for a different system that fails in different ways. We don’t want to follow Italy and Israel examples of proportional representation, do we?

All the best,


P.S. I really am not a fan of graphs where the top is 80% and the bottom is 60% and then the wild swinging lines appear to show a more exaggerated decline or increase then would truly be seen by a full 0-100% graph.

4:03 PM, December 11, 2005  
Blogger Nick Barrowman said...

I don't agree regarding the 0-100% idea. As long as people read the labels on the vertical axis (60%,70%,80%) they won't be confused. But see the discussion over at Junk Charts for more on that issue.

4:17 PM, December 11, 2005  
Blogger Raywat Deonandan said...

Yo, Nasty Nick,
Any attempts at finding historic events that might correlate with dramatic points of that graph? For example, what happened in 1953 that made it such an unpopular election year?

12:07 AM, December 12, 2005  
Anonymous Joe Dawson said...

I took a quick look at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance and found something interesting. The voting registration in given election years has not been regular and in the past number of years has taken a significant dip.

Here is Voter Registration:
1945 76.30%
1949 74.80%
1953 67.90%
1957 75.00%
1958 80.60%
1962 80.10%
1963 80.30%
1965 75.90%
1968 75.70%
1972 77.20%
1974 71.00%
1979 75.70%
1980 69.30%
1984 75.30%
1988 75.30%
1993 69.60%
1997 67.00%
2000 61.20%

You can notice the major dip in 1953 that may help explain the major dip in the graph Nick used in his article.

Now here is the numbers on what percentage of the population voted.
1945 70.20%
1949 72.00%
1953 65.40%
1957 67.90%
1958 75.40%
1962 73.30%
1963 75.10%
1965 70.70%
1968 68.30%
1972 71.30%
1974 64.20%
1979 68.40%
1980 64.50%
1984 67.90%
1988 68.30%
1993 63.90%
1997 57.10%
2000 54.60%

Finally here is the difference between percentage registered and percentage voted:
1945 6.10%
1949 2.80%
1953 2.50%
1957 7.10%
1958 5.20%
1962 6.80%
1963 5.20%
1965 5.20%
1968 7.40%
1972 5.90%
1974 6.80%
1979 7.30%
1980 4.80%
1984 7.40%
1988 7.00%
1993 5.70%
1997 9.90%
2000 6.60%

While the numbers move a bit it overall looks quite consistent to me. So maybe the issue has to do with a poor registration system and government cutting back on the spending in the registration system. Maybe it is another factor all togeather. I just think it is interesting that the registration decline appears to play a factor.

All the best,


6:53 AM, December 12, 2005  
Blogger Nick Barrowman said...

Joe, I'm not sure what to make of the "numbers on what percentage of the population voted" that you list. They don't match the graph I scanned in, nor do they match with the voter turnout figures from Elections Canada (where they list results back to 1867, which I hope to graph for everyone's viewing pleasure).

8:34 PM, December 12, 2005  

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