Hire a retired professor to figure out why people won’t vote in Cambridge, council told

By  | July 11, 2011 | 20 Comments | Filed under: Keeping track of Cambridge Council 2010-2014

This ran in the KW Record…………. comments invited below

CAMBRIDGE — Hire a retired university professor to investigate why people don’t come out to vote in Cambridge, city staff say.

And until more research is done, hold off on appointing another citizens committee to look for ways to encourage more election day participation.

In a report to council, city clerk Alex Mitchell says “there is a concern” with resurrecting the city’s Voters to Vote Task Force, if people on the committee later run for city council in the 2014 municipal election. That could be a conflict of interest.

The committee was originally formed in 2008, with a mandate to boost voter participation in the 2010 city vote.

For now, Mitchell is asking city council spend $3,000 to hire Bob Williams, formerly of the University of Waterloo, to “assess voter turnout in Cambridge.” He also wants council to direct him to meet with city clerks in Waterloo and Kitchener to look for ways to boost voter turnout in 2014.

Voter turnout was 29 per cent in the Oct. 25 Cambridge vote. That’s up from the 22 per cent in 2003, but far short of the 58.3 per cent in the 1972 local elections when Cambridge was created by a provincial amalgamation order.

Mitchell said voter turnout is slipping across Canada, the U.S., United Kingdom and France. It may be wiser to piggyback on Ontario’s and Ottawa’s efforts to encourage more people to cast ballots, like using more advance voting dates or testing internet voting.

City council considers the voting recommendations Monday at 7 p.m. at historic City Hall, 46 Dickson St. Delegations are welcome: register in advance by calling 519-623-1340 or in person with the council clerk just before the meeting starts.




20 Responses to Hire a retired professor to figure out why people won’t vote in Cambridge, council told

  1. cwalsh@assisting4u.net'
    Debbie Vitez July 11, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Cambridge wanted to vote, but the city made dam sure they couldn’t..
    They needed this extra 4 years to fulfill all the promises they made in my personal opinion.
    Just watch the damage folks. We might never recover from the Craig regime.
    Dam shame they can’t be held legally responsible for what they are about to do to us.

  2. m.clairmont@gmail.ca'
    m. clairmont July 11, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I for one, am tired of bending over !!! Constantly our wallets are being raped by these people (that only SOME of us voted for, or had NO chance to vote for!!), for another one of the overinflated and non-needed expenditures from the extra long, Craig’s List of Revitalization , or whatever you want to call it….We as citizens of our city need to band together and fight this constant B.S…… It really is no wonder Mayor Doug needs 24 hour security…….LOL

  3. agmarshall@rogers.com'
    agm July 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Isn’t this committee they are proposing to abandon, the one that Tommy Vann is interested in? I think they’re maybe afraid of Tommy and other citizens. As an aside I had a Dr. Bob Williams as my political science (Canadian) prof way back in first year University. More than likely the same guy and while he was an excellent teacher, I suspect he may be a red herring to avoid renewing the citizens’ committee.

  4. margaret-barr@sympatico.ca'
    Margaret Barr July 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Don’t know if the city ever reads this blog, but if so..I can save the city (and us taxpayers) $3,000, simply by using a little common sense. Here’s how to get more voters to the municipal polls…

    1. MORE (and more) advance voting dates (giving people more options as to when they can conveniently attend to vote)
    2. MORE polls on voting day in order to prevent long lines and frustration

    In this day and age most folks are fighting for ‘time’. We are all busy working, taking care of family and meeting the deadlines of day-to-day living; and we are all seeking ‘convenience’. Give the voters ‘convenience’ and they will come….

  5. m_boilard@sympatico.ca'
    m. boilard July 11, 2011 at 10:37 am

    This is interesting. Deb, who was the university professor you contacted about your and Tommy’s Application?

  6. cwalsh@assisting4u.net'
    Debbie Vitez July 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I hear you Mags.. I thought the same thing..

  7. cwalsh@assisting4u.net'
    Debbie Vitez July 11, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    You are so right on the Voter to Vote task force.. I’m not surprised.
    They do not want the public to closely involved. Well, members of the public they can’t control that is.

    Funny Alex talks about Conflict of Interest when
    Tucci, Wolfe and Reid were all on the last Task Force and all were elected!

  8. leskadar@rogers.com'
    les kadar July 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Add to Margarets list, e-voting.

  9. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Thomas Vann July 11, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    First of all Alex told Linda Whetham to get off this voters to vote task force because it was a conflict of interest before this election in 2010 she told me, yet Ben who chaired it (l believe) and Pam were councillors and remained on it.

    Why? ls this a conflict this year and not last year all of a sudden.

    We don’t need a professor here for $3,000.00. Where is he going to get his info?
    Maybe the City will fill him in since nothing went wrong according to the court case and he will tell us everything is and was fine for $3,000.00. ls there a chance the Judge was wrong?

    Like Alex said it was the 91 year old people’s choice to leave the line ups after hours in line.

    This stinks of a cover up. Something is not right here. There is no person better suited in this city to do this than l and they know this.

    So why the change of heart ?

    Why put the add in the paper looking for someone to to be on this task force months ago?

    Since l was told l was the first to apply for it they may not want someone like myself to fix (oops) try to perfect it on this committee.

    l would have done it for FREE.

    Strange they are offering this out of town professor this chance.

    How can we trust City Hall ever again after what has been going on over this past year? We can’t. So get someone in there that will be transparent, will tell the truth and wants the best for the citizens of Cambridge. Who we gonna call? ……….Busters!

    By the way, just because the committee may recommend change it doesn’t mean Alex or whoever is the Clerk in 2014 will use this to enhance voter turn out. Remember Alex chose the best locations for “voter convienience” in 2010 and by cutting locations and poles, it was also for the best.

    Tell me folks really.

    Do you trust this city?

    lf l got on this committee l may not be able to tear into those now on council that will run in 2014 which l promised to do and will do.

    l will have to find this out if l get asked for this committee.

    Some of us aren’t for sale. The Tin Man.

  10. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Thomas Vann July 12, 2011 at 5:19 am

    Deb. Does Bob Williams not ring a bell with you as me. l will phone you on this ’cause l don’t want to say it here. Like l said above; Do you trust this city? Me, not an inch. Here it is July 2011 and we now find out there were problems. l just love honest, transparent, and concerned people that wouldn’t sell their soul for a buck or a pat on the ass. We need more of these in the world. Before l go; Has anyone been paying attention to the stock market as late? Near 12,000 and soon to go below that. Well, l’m off to work to save enough to pay my city tax increase of near 12% coming in 2012. Love ya all at city hall and when ya read this…….have a nice day.

  11. bemcdowell@sympatico.ca'
    Bev McDowell July 12, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I know why many of the seniors at Kathleen Elliott Court did not vote…..the city took them off of the list of polling locations in the last election…..Interesting that during the last Federal election the seniors had a poll located at Kathleen Elliot Court. Why was their poll taken away for the municipal election???

    I agree with Margaret instead of reducing our polls like they did in the last election, they should have increased the number of polls. People should not have to stand in a line for over an hour to vote !!!!!

  12. cwalsh@assisting4u.net'
    Debbie Vitez July 12, 2011 at 7:33 am

    What if the phone polls they did showed they were out? That the seniors were voting for Linda Whetham?
    Makes perfect sense to cut them, make it impossible for them to vote in my opinion.
    Why wouldn’t the Voter to Vote task force which was stacked with those in the know, do more to notify and make it easier for those seniors? The answer is obvious.

  13. leskadar@rogers.com'
    les kadar July 12, 2011 at 8:11 am

    If the city took seniors names off the list, perhaps they were past the expiry date ?
    Who knows, but for sure beating it up in the media is the only way the city will straighten up
    it’s act. Also, don’t forget in the next election there is some real competition for the brass ring coming
    so the rules will be changed so one of them will win. For the better who knows, but they will be changed.
    I heard Doug was not going to bow out just yet. That should put the other two into a fritz. Knarl will not run for
    mayor then and wait for his turn at the regional seat where he can hide even better.

  14. margaret-barr@sympatico.ca'
    Margaret Barr July 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Deb, where there ‘phone polls’ other than the one conducted for Craig during the election?

  15. cwalsh@assisting4u.net'
    Debbie Vitez July 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I really don’t know how many polls were taken..I had heard a couple.

  16. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Thomas Vann July 12, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    l did a poll in ward 6 but l only got to speak to around 4,300 people from early June till Oct. 25. l tossed the numbers after the election along with other election stuff from the city. They were close to these numbers. Thomas= 2,500. Shannon= 1,300. Price= 600. Stunning eh. Oh wait. Where l grew up and most of my votes were to come from had no advanced poll, last minute voting location cancelled at a school, and a dead end street location that was far too small and far too overbooked at Gertrude Burgar Court. Now isn’t that funny that Gary’s area was the near opposite. Double the number of locations, double the advanced polls, and l lost by exactly the same number of votes the last person that ran in ward 6 had. But wait, anyone with a fair complaint must be tainted with a sour grapes label to try and intimidate them. Certain people passed this around to limit things. Funny we couldn’t get numbers this year from locations that told exact numbers of voters and area. Yes this was a fairly done election l would say. Everything went according to the way it was supposed to go. Exactly.

  17. jkliggett@rogers.com'
    Jan Liggett July 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    The names of people on the voters list came from the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC). They are the people who originate the realty tax figure that cities work with to come up with our city taxes and have who lives where in the province (info comes a lot of different sources including drivers licenses). Municipal enumerations are also conducted by MPAC in order to prepare a Preliminary List of Electors for each municipality and school board during an election year.
    Today, MPAC is responsible for the assessment of nearly 4.7 million properties in the province.

    They are required to have the list to the city I think by July 31st, so that the city can have it to the candidates by labour day in order to hit the streets with it.

    This year the clerk arbitrarily decided to not give a working data sort file to the candidates, citing privacy act.

    I was also told that I could only have it in one form, either print or CD.

    Even after saying I was willing to pay extra for the CD I was told I still couldn’t have it.

    Eventually, over an hour of patiently waiting later, I left with both and a receipt for the paid for CD.

    I checked with Municipal Affairs and the lawyer for MPAC on the lack of a working data file for corroboration.

    Both said that the candidates should have been given the information in a form that we could sort, as there was no legislation like I had been told by the clerk to say otherwise.

    Some cities give the candidates 2 different working data sort lists to work with.

    I met with the CAO Jim King and took my verifying documents from MPAC & Municipal Affairs with me.

    He apologized and said that I was right and would speak with the clerk so that next election this wouldn’t happen.

    I sent him an email later and asked for the list in a sortable form now that we had this straightened out.

    He refused saying that there was no time, yet we were still a month away from the election.

    I never got it. As for the taking names off of the list, all one would have to do is get hold of the list that MPAC issued and check it against what the city gave to the candidates.

    Personally, I think that you will find there were no names deliberately taken off, but if someone finds otherwise, I will eat crow in the form of a public apology.

  18. bemcdowell@sympatico.ca'
    Bev McDowell July 13, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Re: Comment #11- What I meant to say in my comment was that the Kathleen Elliott Court location was not given a polling station during the last municipal election. I do not know of anyone that was taken off the polling list.

  19. lvann_11@sympatico.ca'
    Thomas Vann July 13, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Feds had no problem months later finding our missing 14,000 voters. Even the Judge felt this was strange but okay. Yep, okay to miss 14,000 voters. Others had trouble with the clerk as well Jan you are not alone but that’s okay…….this is Cambridge we have no rules or guidelines it appears.

  20. bob@oscarandfriends.ca'
    Robert Ross July 15, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Seems that they are always fixing things for “the next election”……that, like my next big lottery win,hasn’t happened yet.

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