Don’t mess with the electoral system

Don't mess with the electoral system Whitehorse City Council unanimously gave third reading to the combo enumeration-census bylaw at a special council meeting on Tuesday, March 24. The bylaw passed at the speed of light, as these things go. It's still

Whitehorse City Council unanimously gave third reading to the combo enumeration-census bylaw at a special council meeting on Tuesday, March 24. The bylaw passed at the speed of light, as these things go.

It’s still not available for the public to read.

This bylaw allows for registering eligible voters in Whitehorse, in preparation for the October municipal election.

It also, weirdly, attaches a number of questions about households for information not related to residents’ eligibility to vote. This accessory to the voters’ registration exercise sets a disturbing precedent. I have been assured citizens would not be faced with this kind of intrusion during federal or territorial enumerations.

In the last months of its regime, Whitehorse council could have treated the upcoming election with the respect it deserves, and given voters’ participation its full attention.

Instead, more typically, they agreed to let the planning department attach their latest vanity project – counting people with roofs over their heads – to the more important work of registering eligible voters.

It’s impossible to figure out how anyone at the city could conclude this survey method will come up with any useful statistics. Unfortunately, the experiment also devalues the voter-enumeration exercise.

Perhaps no one should be surprised the nuances of their ill-advised approach to voter enumeration seem to have escaped council. But what a fantastic opportunity this bizarre new bylaw opens up to citizens, to send a message to city councils now, and in the future, that they won’t gain anything by tampering with any part of the voting process.

Personally, I intend to decline to be registered at the door (or participate in an unrelated survey).

Instead, I’ll be happy to be sworn in at the polls, because, contrary to how this mayor and council and administration would have it, there is nothing about the hard won right to vote that is “inconvenient.”

Marianne Darragh

Whitehorse