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Convincing Non-Voters to Show Up on October 19, 2015

The 42nd Federal Election is shaping up to be one of the most exciting Federal Elections in recent history. Some believe that Canada may elect a new Prime Minister this autumn, while most individuals are leaning towards Prime Minister Stephen Harper returning for another 4 years. There have been recent headlines shaming non-voters from the 2011 Federal Election, where cynics claim the Conservative Government would not have secured majority if there were a higher voter turnout.

Millennials representing a significant majority of the non-voting bracket, it is easy to understand why many of them refuse to vote. One main reason, many political platforms do not focus on the long-term needs of Canadians in the distant future (i.e. CPP security for future generations, creation of viable entry level job opportunities, etc.). Some non-voters have also come out and claimed that they are unaware what their options are and may refuse to take the time to make an educated choice.

Recent online campaigns, such as #HeaveSteve2015 and Facebook groups promoting Vote Harper Out, which will be arranging carpools for individuals needing a ride to the polls on October 19. A challenge with these groups is that they don’t provide a solidified solution to reach their goal. As well, voting out Stephen Harper isn’t really a long-term solution if many are unaware of the other options available.

Hypothetically, if the majority of Canadians cared more about removing Stephen Harper over finding a viable replacement; then the only viable solution is to aggressively convince non-voters to vote in ridings where Conservatives have secured seats by voting for the 2nd place party. Since many opinion polls have their bias, we conducted our analysis by reviewing the results from 2011. Based on the results posted on Wikipedia, here are the results from the 2011 Federal Election:

Wikipedia

We used the vote count that was provided to determine the deficit in votes between 1st and 2nd place where the Conservative Government secured a seat. Within each riding we researched the number of registered voters to create an estimate of non-voters in each riding. The estimate was calculated by applying a multiplier to the number of votes secured by the major national parties and then subtracted from the eligible population that could vote in each riding.

Realistically, we shouldn’t be expecting an aggressive increase in voter turnout; therefore, we assumed only 25% of our estimated non-voters from 2011 would partake in this strategy. The remaining 75% will be split between voting for the remaining parties with a significant portion non-voting in October. We also had to make another assumption that the majority voters from 2011 will be voting for the same party again (lack of credible polls).

With a 25% increase in participation from the 2011 non-voters, electing strategically, voting the 2nd place party. The maximum seats the Conservatives could lose are 120, with 50 being awarded to the Liberals, and 70 to the NDP. With all assumptions laid out, the following is a breakdown by riding where Liberals and NDP could gain seats:

ALBERTA & BRITISH COLUMBIA

Winning Part 1

MANITOBA, NEW BRUNSWICK, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR, NOVA SCOTIA, NUNAVUT, & ONTARIO

Winning Part 2

ONTARIO

Winning Part 3

ONTARIO, PEI, & QUEBEC

Winning Part 4

SASKATCHEWAN & YUKON

Winning Part 5

Regardless of a higher turnout, from non-voters, there are ridings that would require a significantly greater effort. The following ridings could be difficult to steal from the Conservatives:

ALBERTA, BRITISH COLUMBIA, MANITOBA, & NEW BRUNSWICK

Losing Part 1

ONTARIO & SASKATCHEWAN

Losing Part 2

With numerous hot topics this election, the conclusion to the 42nd Federal Election could be a huge surprise. Canada should consider adopting mandatory voting. If a voter does not like any of the options, they will have the option of selecting “None of the Above”. A message to non-voting Canadians, this October every vote counts.

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