One Red Deer business is addressing the issue of voter apathy in the community, as well as what it means to be an informed voter.
Doug Anderson, president of Peavey Industries (Peavey Mart), has asked more than 100 employees in Red Deer, as well as employees of stores across the province to pledge to vote in their upcoming municipal elections.
Anderson was pondering the idea of voter turnout, and found himself wondering why municipal turnouts were so much lower than provincial and federal elections.
“I came to conclusion that it is because you are voting for people, as opposed to parties,” said Anderson. “It takes so much more effort to decide who to vote for when there are 30 people with very different values and ideas, as opposed to three parties with very separate platforms.”
With record-setting numbers of 30 people running for council and five people running for mayor, Anderson recognized that lack of voter turnout may be in connection with the fact that not every one has the time to familiarize themselves with the candidates platforms.
With 80% of his employees pledging to vote in the Red Deer municipal election, Anderson invited candidates to speak at a forum held for his employees.
“I thought if I could take care of the commitment part with my employees then I could get the candidates down to help with the effort and hopefully have an impact on voter turnout.”
By inviting the candidates to appear, Anderson hopes his employees will be able to make an informed decision on who they want representing them.
Anderson’s staff was more than welcoming to the candidates at the forum held last week.
Corporate development manager of Peavey Industries, Jest Sidloski said that it was a good opportunity to be able to listen the candidates during work hours without having to take the time off of work or out of his day to find out what the candidates were all about.
While the candidates each only have a few minutes to present their platforms, Sidloski said that the short speeches were a great way to “See how the politicians interacted with people and how they presented themselves to the public.
“That face-to-face opportunity goes a lot further than reading about the candidates in the paper or a pamphlet. When I spoke with the staff they were quite honoured to be able to meet the candidates first hand.”