I have to admit, over the years, I’ve become a bit of an election junkie.
I love to follow polls to see which leader or candidate is in the lead, and I enjoy seeing which local members of communities run for political positions.
Municipal elections, specifically to me, are more exciting, as they are both more unpredictable, given the candidates aren’t tied to a political party and feature more local issues. Usually, these elections feature many more candidates than a provincial or federal election.
However, the lack of interest in the 2022 elections has surprised me so far.
As many will remember, the provincial election saw record low voter turnout, with only about 43 percent of eligible voters casting their ballots. This sort of apathy seems to have bled into the municipal election campaign now.
First, I need to preface this by saying, I understand the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone, local politicians included. But it is still really surprising to see the amount of change in interest in municipal politics in just four years. In Scugog specifically, there is currently one candidate per position. This is a situation where, if nothing changes by Friday, August 19th, there will not be a need to hold an election, and an entire council will be acclaimed. In Uxbridge, there are three positions with only one registered candidate, currently. Mayor Dave Barton is the only one seeking the mayor’s chair. Zed Pickering is all alone in the Ward 3 race, and Willie Popp is the lone candidate in Ward 4. While there are some interesting races for mayor and regional councillor in Brock Township, four out of the five ward councillor positions remain with only one candidate seeking them.
Richard Damianopoulos is also the only candidate seeking to be the North Durham trustee for the Durham Catholic District School Board.
To put this all in perspective, just four years ago, there were 22 individuals registered to run for positions on Scugog council. In Uxbridge, there were 21 individuals registered for the 2018 election.
Now, as a note, this should not be a black mark on any of the candidates who are running alone. It takes a lot of courage to run for political office, and they should be commended for doing their part to continue the democratic process. It is just unfortunate, in this municipal election, we may not hear as many differing views and opinions as we have in the past. Time will tell, as candidates have only until this Friday to register.