Here’s a personal wishlist for future civic elections. I think one of these wishes is already set to happen for the next election.
1. Cap spending for municipal elections and limit donations
We need to even the ground for the municipal elections. A lot of smaller cities run election campaigns from a candidate’s kitchen table. In Vancouver, the two biggest parties have their own little “HQs” and book large venues for celebrating the election results.
By the way, did anyone notice the Vision Vancouver was at the Wall Centre Sheraton for their victory celebration. Didn’t council just approve a huge Peter Wall development going up on Boundary Road between Kingsway and Vanness Avenue? I don’t think the optics were too good there.
Limits are needed for any election to keep things in check and make sure all parties have a more equal say. In 2014, we may see the
2. Simplifying the election card
I am a geek who is willing to spend time to research a little bit beyond the two big slates and vote across parties. There were a couple of NPA and NSV candidates who didn’t get voted in that could have done a very credible job. They had the background and skill set to help with some tough land decisions in Vancouver.
However, most people don’t have the time of day to research. I know my head and eyes were starting to spin after reading a couple of election platforms. I spent most of my time researching city council and I couldn’t really research much about 9 school trustees and 7 parks board trustees. That would just take way too much time.
So how can we simplify the election card? Well here’s my suggestion, but who knows if it will actually work.
Having 5 councillors elected through a ward system and 5 through the current at-large system could help us reduce the research numbness that comes with trying to select 10 councillors.
As for the school and parks board, I am going to suggest just a ward system to select the trustees. It’s just going to be easier for the denizens to select one person to represent them on each board rather than picking at random. Honestly, it feels like I’m picking at random when it comes to the school and parks board.
3. Online Voting
I believe this idea is already on the table for the next municipal election. There are potential pitfalls with online voting. However, if everyone received a unique voter ID with a unique password, this could work. We already file our income tax online with a fair amount of security. We could quite possibly implement online voting.
What would interest me most about online voting is whether voter turnout would be higher than current levels. Normally, about a quarter to a third of eligible voters vote. That’s extremely sad that non-voters allow the voting one-third to make the major decision of who runs the city.