Recently I’ve spent some time at iVote. This is an organization dedicated to bringing the right to vote in municipal elections to Toronto’s 200 000 or so permanent residents. Their reasoning seems sound and it would undoubtedly increase turnout at the ballot boxes, at least in real numbers. Hopefully, permanent residents would be more enthusiastic about the process than the 39% or so of citizens who bothered to vote in the last election.
Something caught my attention while reading through the iVote information. Currently, voter eligibility is limited to Canadian citizens residing in Toronto who are at least 18 years-old. In addition, and here’s the interesting part, either a resident of the municipality or a property owner or tenant or the spouse or same sex partner of an owner or tenant in the municipality during a specified time just before the election [italics mine]. My reading of this is that if you own or rent property in a municipality, you are eligible to vote in that municipality. So that if you own or rent properties in numerous municipalities, you can vote in numerous municipal elections. According to iVote: … someone with a property in each of Ontario’s 444 municipalities can vote in all 444 municipal elections, even though they do not reside in all of them [italics mine. Again.]
I don’t know. There’s just something wrong with that and maybe only at a visceral, gut-level. My visceral, gut-level. It seems to contradict that whole one person, one vote concept we were raised on.
Certainly at a provincial level, no such ownership option for voting exists. I realize that there, as well as in the federal parliament, it is one elected body and so if you could vote where you lived as well as where you owned or rented property that it would be an example of more than one vote for one person. At the municipal level, it is distinct governments you vote for. Still, if you have particular views like say, lower taxes, those views are reflected more often than those held by single property owners or renters.
It feels undemocratic, harkening back to the days when voting for anything was open only to the propertied classes. It smacks of privilege and rubs me the wrong way. And like most people, I only like to rubbed in the right way.
— suggestively submitted by Urban Sophisticat