This week I’ve been giving some thought to WHY people don’t vote. In fact only 38% of registered voters did so in the last Hamilton city council elections (slightly lower than the national average). So why is that?
I have three takes on it.
- We don’t know enough about the role of the local government and therefore don’t think voting will make a difference to our lives.
The central government creates marketing campaigns to try to increase the number of people voting in local body elections. They do it by reminding eligible voters about the process, deadlines and to educate us about what our rates pay for and the decisions a sitting council will address. Unfortunately this has had limited impact to date.
- We are too busy and forget to vote.
The Hamilton City Council missed an opportunity to trial online voting which I’m sure will have made a huge difference to the numbers voting, by making it easier AND especially more appealing to younger voters (who have a REALLY low voter turnout).
- We can’t tell the difference between candidates and what they offer.
(We also have a habit of voting based on name recognition – which while is still “a vote” it’s not a particularly informed way to do it).
So, my “strategy” over the next few months is to give people the opportunity to get to know ME before they vote. I’m a 34 year old, who is married with a 4 year old daughter. This statistic makes me the average Hamiltonian.
My way of voting on issues in council will always be based on what is best for the people LIKE ME, my family and friends. I am in touch with the challenges, concerns and opportunities that exist for people in my age range (which is loosely 18-40years). But, that’s not to say I don’t understand concerns for everyone else. I strongly believe this age group needs to be represented in our city council. It’s our future. So, I will do what people our age do… and blog and post to facebook and instagram and hope that it gives you a good idea of who Kelli Pike is and the things I care about. (P.S. This is not ALL I am doing – but I do hope that it appeals to the younger demographic who don’t normally vote).