Value your vote

Joondalup Weekender - - Front Page - Jes­sica Nico

VOTE. That’s the mes­sage from Univer­sity of Notre Dame pol­i­tics and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Martin Drum, who says de­spite it play­ing an im­por­tant role, lo­cal gov­ern­ment was of­ten un­der­es­ti­mated.

“Its im­por­tant be­cause so many as­pects of our day-to-day lives are im­pacted by their de­ci­sions,” he said.

“For in­stance, the lo­cal ap­pli­ca­tions for de­vel­op­ment your neigh­bour sub­mits, or a busi­ness which op­er­ates next to you. There’s also the cu­ra­tion of re­cre­ational spa­ces, which many of us use ev­ery day, or it might be that your lo­cal street isn’t up to scratch. I sus­pect that there are many peo­ple who com­plain about these things, yet might not vote.”

Dr Drum said while he be­lieved more peo­ple should vote, over­all numbers would be un­likely to in­crease un­til a more user-friendly form of vot­ing be­came avail­able.

“I won­der whether postal votes are ef­fec­tive in fa­cil­i­tat­ing high voter turnout for lo­cal gov­ern­ment, so I think the over­all trend will be slightly down,” he said.

“A trial of on­line vot­ing at lo­cal gov­ern­ment level would be worth con­sid­er­ing for the next elec­tion.

“Ev­ery level of gov­ern­ment should be re­spon­sive and ac­count­able to the com­mu­ni­ties they rep­re­sent but while voter turnout is low, this ac­count­abil­ity is not as com­pre­hen­sive as it should be.

“Vot­ing helps us think about and dis­cuss what we ex­pect from a lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive, which is a healthy thing to do.”

The elec­tions are on Oc­to­ber 21.

Martin Drum

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