Politics don’t seem to be resonating with Windsorites and with a voting turnout of 38.2% at the last election in 2006 the numbers don’t lie. This year, in hopes of improving the turnout, the city has rolled out a campaign they call Vote Out Loud. This campaign is aimed directly at University and College students and young people in the city who don’t seem to be concerned about voting. Their plan was to create a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter in hopes of reaching these would-be voters. The plan will cost approximately $6,000 as the city intends to partner with merchants, educators, young entrepreneurs etc in order to entice these young people to become active in their own community and head to the polls for the next election this fall.
Vote Out Loud has a great website with candidate resources, merchandise and voting/ward details that makes navigating the election scene a little easier. Young Windsor entrepreneurs like Shane Potvin, Tom Lucier and Owen Wolter have all played a role in this concept. The young people who are consistently missing from the polls have no problem telling the world what they think or what they ate today on Facebook. It is the hope of the Vote Out Loud activists, that this Fall they may want to take that love of expression into the physical realm by voting and ultimately impacting the structure of city hall. As far as Blab is concerned, it’s about time social media made its way to the Windsor political scene! It’s great to see citizens coming together in an attempt to change the way people feel about voting with a catchy social campaign.
Aside from its implementation to Vote Out Loud, social media in general is an amazing political resource that would allow candidates to interact directly with the young generation that never shows up at the polls. There are 34 non-incumbent candidates running for council and most of them have adopted online and social media strategies to reach voters. Some candidates have Facebook pages where citizens can ask questions and express concerns, some have created groups to gather supporters and send mass messages about campaign details, and some have built websites to showcase their platform and let voters see the person behind the campaign. All these examples are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were just a few years ago.
At Blab we are very excited to see the changes taking place throughout the election campaign process. In the future we hope to see strong social media campaigns and creative incentives for Windsorites to join and participate in the online communities. There are a plethora of opportunities at the doorstep and as the years pass, it’s our belief that politicians will turn to this interactive and exciting medium to communicate with potential voters on a new level.
It’s disheartening that year after year so many Windsorites aren’t showing up to the polls and we can only hope that these new online strategies will attract a once ignored generation and entice them to vote and show some concern for the city they live in.
Advanced polls at Devonshire mall open October 9th and conclude at the WFCU Centre on October 16th. Anyone may attend the advanced polls ahead of the regular Election Day (October 25th).