The Niagara Report

The more candidates, the better the voter turnout

Well, the municipal elcetion campaign has entered its final phase.

Candidates had from Jan. 1 until this past Friday to register.

Happily, no one will be acclaimed in Fort Erie, where there are two candidates for mayor, three for regional council and at least two in each of the six ward races.

I say happily because democracy is best served - and in fact is only possible - when there are sufficient numbers of people willing to step into the fray and stand for election to public office.

We often lament poor voter turnout during municipal contests. It’s a sad fact, but we do know that the more candidates there are the greater the voter turnout.A good strong mayor’s race helps too.

Compare the following:

• In 1997 in Fort Erie, voter turnout was 43.4% when Wayne Redekop challenged John Teal for the mayor’s seat.

• In 2000, voter turnout dropped to 29% when no one stepped up to challenged Redekop, who went on to be acclaimed to a second term. Three ward races also went uncontested that year.

I predict a voter turnout in Fort Erie this time out somewhere around the 38%-42% mark.

I hope I’m wrong. Wouldn’t it be nice to see that number double?

If it does go up, you’ll have the many fine people who have placed their name on the ballot to thank for it. It’s the candidates who are responsible for getting people engaged in public discourse. Each one should be commended for their courage and enthusiasm.

Now, let the games begin.

4 years ago | 9 notes | Permalink

No Visit = No Vote

I have lived in Ridgeway (Fort Erie) since 1992.

During the past 18 years I have only had a candidate for municipal election knock on my door twice.

Both times it was a smiling Wayne Redekop, a whirlwind of a politician and an accomplished marathon runner, who came a calling.

Redekop was first elected mayor in 1997. He was acclaimed mayor in 2000 when no one decided to run against him. He was re-elected to a third term in 2003. He stepped aside in 2006 - undefeated.

I first met Wayne in 1993 when I was briefly a member of the Ridgeway Lions Club. At the time, Wayne was a town councillor.

Wayne once told me how important it was for candidates to try to knock on as many doors as they possibly can. In 1991, I bet you he visited every home in his ward at least once.

I still believe it’s just important now - even in this wired up Facebook world we live in - to get out and meet voters on their turf.

In fact, I’m not voting for anyone who doesn’t come to my house to see me. If I’m not home, all you have to do is leave me a personal note on your brochure in my mail box with your phone number and I’ll count that as a visit.

Seriously, I expect a visit from mayoral candidates Doug Martin and Ann-Marie Noyes, region candidates Shirley Cordiner, John Teal and Dave Fernie, and Ward 4 candidates Tim Whitfield and John Hill.

No visit = no vote.

Tell you what, if you visit me, I’ll take your picture at my door and post it on this blog spot. If you don’t visit my door, I’ll periodically remind my readers of your absence.

It’ll be interesting to see who comes by first.

I’ll go put some coffee on; I’m expecting company any time now.

4 years ago | 8 notes | Permalink
Former mayor joins Fort Erie race for region
4 years ago | Permalink

Election Time

It’s that time again.

Municipal elections in Ontario and I have been assigned to cover the races in Fort Erie.

Up through the Oct. 25 vote, I have decided to use this space to blog about the election campaign.

It’ll be sort of a reporter’s notebook, offering tidbits from along the trail.

As in year’s past, The Niagara Falls Review is looking forward to providing comprehensive coverage of the local campaigns.

And for would be candidates, don’t forget Friday, Sept. 10 is the last day to file nomination papers!!

4 years ago | Permalink
The good, the bad and the ugly
4 years ago | 1 note | Permalink
Our Town a great opportunity for Niagara Falls
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Back to the future: Reconsider trolleys for Niagara Falls
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HELP WANTED: Community Editorial Board
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More bodies unearthed in Fort Erie
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"Don’t write so that you can be understood; write so that you can’t be misunderstood."
William Howard Taft - United States president, 1909-1913
4 years ago | 2 notes | Permalink