Big Power in Small Numbers

Today is voting day.

And after every election there is always a discussion about low voter turnout in younger age groups, particularly those age 18-34.

Is this the case?

Based on Elections Alberta voter results for the most recent provincial election, voter turnout does most increase from 18-24 year olds all the way up to those 75+.  It ranges from 32% in 18-24 year old males to 73% in 75+ males and 65-74 year old females.

But this says nothing about the NUMBER of people voting in each group, as 18-24 year olds make up almost 10% of the total population in Alberta, whereas those 75 and older only make up around 4%.

When you actually tally up the number of voters (number of people in each age group X voter turnout percentage) you find the picture is much different.

As a percentage of total voters who turnout on voting day, the largest group is actually 45-54 year olds.  And if you lump together 18-34 year olds, they make up just as large a group.

Which is to say that no matter what age group of which you are a part, you’ve got clout.

And in local elections with smaller numbers of total voters, you have even more.

If you haven’t seen the 2010 Peace River municipal election results, here they are.

Most people voting will vote for a mayoral candidate, so the total voters was likely pretty close to 1729.  If Peace River’s demographics are similar to Alberta’s, that means we have roughly 5200 citizens of voting age, so voter turnout was around 33%.

Now here comes the power in small numbers.

The mayoral race was decided by 69 votes.

If every 12th person voting for the other mayoral candidate had brought ONE other supporter, the result would’ve been different.

Same with the council race.  The difference between being on council and not being on council was 41 votes.

If every 22nd person voting for Leslie Ayre-Jaschke had brought one other supporter, the result would’ve been different.

This is the big power in small numbers.

The odd person convinces one extra person to go vote and changes the course of the future.

So don’t let anyone convince you your vote doesn’t count.

That only happens when you don’t vote.

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