This morning those of us in the Greater Toronto Area woke up to a new municipal government. Many voters here are just glad to see it over, after an almost year-long, hard-fought and newsworthy race in Toronto, and a somewhat quieter one in the surrounding suburbs.
In York Region, where I live, the incumbent mayor won by a landslide, with most other incumbents also regaining their seats.
The biggest controversy here was that election signs were being stolen and vandalized during the campaign.
On that note, I found it interesting as I came out of the polling station yesterday, to see volunteers hammering election signs into the lawn alongside both sides of the road just in front of it. Others from other campaigns had already left theirs, too – I guess thinking that people who might not otherwise vote would be reminded if they drove by and saw the signs smack in front of the polling station that day.
No surprise since, while people in other parts of the world still fight for the right to vote, municipal elections still have one of the lowest voter turnouts (Toronto’s was up this time at 52%, likely due to how provocative the campaign was).
Aussies demystify the voting process
But there’s some excellent work being done to change that! For example, the Electoral Commission in Victoria, Australia has developed information in every language and format imaginable, to ensure that every citizen can educate themselves before the 2010 state election this November 27.
Along with languages other than English, the Victoria Electoral Commission has posted on their website answers to key questions in ‘Easy English,’ Auslan (Australian Sign Language), large print and audio, and has info to help those who will vote using Braille, will vote from outside a voting centre, or for caregivers who will assist those they care for with voting.
It’s worth a visit, if you’re interested in seeing a model of accessible electoral process.