OTTAWA—One phrase keeps popping up in the complaints about fraudulent calls in the 2011 election, when hapless voters were reportedly told their polling locations had changed.
It’s this: “due to higher-than-expected turnout.” Presumably, the callers wanted to plant the suggestion that voting was a nuisance to be avoided — what with the changed location and all those crowds at the ballot boxes. “It’s a stampede, Martha, like we saw when the new iPhones came out. Let’s just wait it out.”
That scenario, however, would not work as well if voting was legally compulsory in Canada.
The idea of mandatory voting floated up again in a column last week by Mia Rabson in the Winnipeg Free Press. Her concerns revolved mainly around the falling turnout — barely at 60 per cent in the past decade and considerably less than that among young people.
That’s one good reason. But cleaning up politics might be another side benefit.