A notice of motion introduced Monday by Coquitlam Coun. Terry O'Neill seeks to publicize the names of anyone who votes in a civic election, in a move O'Neill hopes will increase municipal voter turnout.
If approved, the motion would not publicize how people voted, and the list would be made available in both print and electronic formats.
In an interview Wednesday, O'Neill said he got the idea from a current Atlantic Magazine article entitled "The Ideas Report."
The article cites a U.S. study that suggests "people are more likely to follow social norms when their behaviour is observed by others" - in other words, if their names are published, they are more likely to vote.
"For the people who are going to vote, that's kind of rewarding them - we should celebrate those people," O'Neill said. And people who might not otherwise vote might say, 'I'd like to get on that list because my friends will see that I'm always talking politics, but not doing anything about it.'"
Under current provincial legislation, municipalities are mandated to produce similar lists for eight weeks after an election.
"The principle is in place already in that it is public, so let's expand on that," O'Neill said.
"It's just a case of positive reinforcement. People love reading their own names in the paper."
The city's voter turnout rate has hovered below the 25-per-cent mark in the last decade. Last year's turnout for the civic election was pegged at 21.7 per cent, while the 2008 and 2005 numbers were 21.5 and 23.3 per cent, respectively.
Byelection numbers are even worse - in 2010, only 7.6 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot, and only 5.1 per cent did so in 2007.
As for any backlash around privacy concerns, O'Neill said the majority of voter information is already made public.
"The name is published already, and there's a voters list that's published already," he said.
"All of that's already out there, so this is just a small extension. I don't think this is a big stumbling block, but we'll have to see."
O'Neill's motion is expected be voted upon at the July 30 council meeting.
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