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It may come as no surprise that voter turnout continued to trend down during the last municipal election in Ontario (you can see the full results data here), a common theme seen across Canada. But why is this happening? A CBC article pointed to several factors including homogenous campaigns, accessibility to information, and high youth voter apathy; voter burnout was also cited as a contributing factor during Ontario’s municipal elections because of a provincial election only a few months prior.

The question remains then, what strategies can municipal communicators employ in order to encourage voter engagement and participation?

For starters, understanding the local issues related to voter apathy is one of the most important elements for creating an effective strategy. It’s fine to be aware of the general reasons why people don’t vote, but all of them may not apply to your community and there may be a reason that isn’t as apparent or that you weren’t aware of before. Conducting research should be your first step in developing a strategy to garner the results you want.

Here are six easy campaign ideas for increasing voter turnout during your next municipal election or by-election:

  1. Incentive-based campaigns
  2. Information campaigns that address how to vote,
  3. Advertising campaigns that focus on why it’s important
  4. Grassroots movements that home in on a particular demographic, such as youth or specific nationalities
  5. Increase accessibility with more ways to vote, including online
  6. Influencer campaign