‘Voter grant’ turned down

What would it take to increase voter turnout? Perhaps a financial inducement would do the trick.

Noting the poor turnout in the recent byelection for a single seat on the Langley board of education, Township Councillor Kim Richter suggested a financial incentive in the form of a “voter recognition grant.”

The grant would be equivalent to the average property tax payment in the Township, and be awarded in a random draw of voters who submit a coupon proving they had voted.

But on Monday, Richter’s motion was defeated, as was a motion to defer her suggestion to staff for a legal opinion.

Richter said that giving a grant would require legislative change as under current law, paying someone for voting is illegal.

“I don’t think we should turn elections into a lottery,” Councillor Bob Long said.

Councillor Bev Dornan, agreeing that the 3.8 per cent voter turnout in the recent byelection was “abysmal,” said that the importance of voting begins with educating children that voting is a right that is not enjoyed by many people in the world.

Richter said that in order to win the grant, a voter would not have to own property. The winner, whether for example a renter or student living at home, would win the equivalent of the average property tax.

“It’s time for us to think outside the box,” she said.

The recent byelection, which was for a single school trustee position, attracted 2,675 of the 70,345 residents who were eligible to cast ballots. That makes the per-voter cost very expensive, Richter said.

The election is reported to have cost $75,000, which the Langley school district will pay.

“The cost of an election is fixed, so it only makes sense to get more people out to vote to offset the fixed cost,” Richter said.

“I’m not a believer in forcing people to vote. I think voting should be an act of choice but I am a believer in encouraging people to get out to vote,” Richter said.

Just Posted

Langley Rotarians work for clinics in Kenya

Local Rotary Clubs are asking locals to think of others at Christmastime.

Man accused of shooting at border agents loses final bid to appeal extradition order

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford following cross-border manhunt in 2013

#MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

It happens to more people than you might think and impacts women inside and outside of the workplace

Bears will be flying as Giants get set for Teddy Bear Toss

Stuffed animals will be collected at Langley Events Centre, distributed through Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau

Busker turned away by North Delta Superstore

Nathaniel Postma’s petition aims to bring awareness to “discrimination and oppression” buskers face

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

B.C. Mountie told to resign after texting teenage sex assault victim

RCMP documents say Const. Brian Eden sent sexually inappropriate photos to 17-year-old girl

Family doctors should learn to treat addiction, not shun patients: scientist

B.C. Centre on Substance Use’s Dr. Evan Wood said efforts underway to change addiction medicine image

Update: Small fire near Maple Ridge tent city

Occurred outside camp Wednesday night

Four dog deaths investigated in Cranbrook

One vet suggests a parallel to these deaths and similar ones in 2016

Meningococcal disease outbreak declared in Okanagan

Five cases in last six months among 15- to 19-year-olds, including one in Vernon

Military life gives way to chance as author

Retired Chilliwack officer pens book about life in Afghanistan

Province rejects Ajax mine in Kamloops

KGHM Ajax had proposed a 1,700-hectare open-pit copper and gold mine, just southwest of Kamloops

Most Read