Islanders, more than any other Atlantic Canadians, oppose mandatory voting in Canada, according to a recent survey conducted by Corporate Research Associates Inc.
Mandatory voting, also known as compulsory voting, is a system where residents are obliged to vote in elections or face punitive measures such as fines or community service.
As of August 2013, 22 countries have compulsory voting including Australia which uses this system for both federal and state elections.
Canada has a voluntary voting system, and recent results show that Atlantic Canadians would like it to remain this way.
In the survey, P.E.I. residents voiced the largest opposition to this idea of all the Atlantic provinces, with 71 per cent of respondents rejecting the notion of compulsory voting being adopted in Canada.
Similarly, P.E.I. had the smallest amount of support for the idea at 27 per cent.
Regionally, six in 10 Atlantic Canadians are mostly or completely opposed, with four in 10 completely opposing this system. Meanwhile, over one-third of Atlantic Canadians completely or mostly support compulsory voting in Canada, while three per cent do not offer an opinion.
Over six in 10 residents of Newfoundland and Labrador and a similar number in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick oppose mandatory voting.
Across the population, opinions are similar across gender and age categories.
“Interestingly, despite the alarming decline in voter turnout that has been evident in the last decade or so, a majority of Atlantic Canadians are not willing to support the use of mandatory voting for citizens,” said to Don Mills, Chairman and CEO of CRA. “This may reflect the greater importance placed on the freedom to choose to vote or not vote, than the actual percentage of those who choose to vote.”
These results are based on a telephone sample of 1,502 adult Atlantic Canadians, conducted from Nov. 6 to Nov. 30, 2013 with overall results accurate to within plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 95 times out of 100.