"It's so hard to vote at the municipal level — it doesn't help democracy."
Newly re-elected Mayor Valérie Plante wants to remove voting barriers so that Montrealers have an easier time voting in municipal elections. But that'll require some cooperation from the city's voting authority, Élections Montréal.
At a press conference on Wednesday, the mayor told MTL Blog that she finds "it difficult that at the federal and provincial levels, it's so much easier to vote. When it comes to the municipal, it's not."
"What I hope will happen is that Élections Montréal will loosen up and make sure that any citizen can go vote."
Statistically speaking, most Montrealers didn't come out to vote in the recent municipal election. There was only a 38.32% participation rate among registered voters.
Mathilde St-Vincent, spokesperson at Élections Montréal tells MTL Blog that "mayor Valérie Plante is referring mostly to the registration to the Electoral list."
"What is important to understand and clarify is that registration on the electoral list is a process regulated by the Act respecting elections and referendums in municipalities and that Élections Montréal applies the rules, as do all Quebec municipalities."
In Montreal, for instance, registering on the electoral list required individuals to go to an in-person session at an elections office with two pieces of ID to prove their identity and residence. Prospective voters could also mail in a written application to verify the required information.
St-Vincent insists that the organization has a mission "to organize the Montréal municipal election by ensuring that the voting process is facilitated."
In early November, Élections Québec, the provincial voting authority, told MTL Blog that there are three main reasons why people don't vote: "a lack of time, a lack of interest in municipal politics," and "a lack of knowledge about municipal issues, the candidates and their ideas."
"We put so much effort into connecting with the youth or with some communities who don't feel connected, we're able to mobilize them," the mayor said Wednesday.
"But I wonder and I hope that Élections Montréal will do some introspection because it's not fair that it's so hard to vote at the municipal level — it doesn't help democracy — so I hope they do better."
"We are certainly listening to the comments and are open to taking part in the discussion to improve practices within the prescribed legal framework," St-Vincent said.