Healthy Democracy and Voter Choice
It has been an incredible second week on the mayoral campaign trail. People from all over the city are reaching out to let me know I have their support and their vote. I am proud that I am able to provide a real choice and elevate the dialogue about important issues that our city needs to address.
Democracy is all about providing the opportunity for citizens to elect someone to represent them in governing and decision making. It is an important responsibility. But over the past years, voter participation in Saskatoon has declined. It is a fact that municipal elections have the lowest voter turnout compared to provincial or federal elections. There is common agreement that something needs to be done to increase community engagement in this process.
One way to improve voter participation is to involve citizens in the election process as completely as possible. People may choose not to participate because they don’t believe their vote will make a difference. If they are informed of the options and feel they can make a difference they will go to the polls on Election Day. The more diverse the opportunities to engage citizens and the candidates, the better! People need to see candidates they relate to, that share their values, and inspire them to be involved.
The Vote Splitting Debate
Though I have received overwhelmingly positive encouragement for my mayoral candidacy, I have also heard comments that my presence will split votes in favour of the incumbent mayor seeking a fifth term. I disagree, and let me tell you why.
Vote splitting is based on the premise that when there are multiple similar candidates in a race it reduces the chances of any of these candidates being elected and favours a non-similar candidate. Concerns expressed to me about vote splitting assume that I am the similar candidate and I am not.
I am in fact, the non-similar Saskatoon Mayoral candidate:
- The other three candidates have all served on council for ten or more years (at least three terms) as councillor and/or mayor. Unlike them, I do not wear the title of incumbent. I am not vested in the decisions that have been made and I do not represent the status quo.
- I am a professional regional and urban planner with 20 years’ experience working in government. I have worked within City Hall and other orders of government to directly create public policy and programs and have had direct responsibility for budgets over $150 million. I have overseen dozens of capital projects all across our community and Saskatchewan.
- My partner Lenore and I own a community planning business that creates employment and contributes to our community.
- I have never been a member of a political party and I have a reputation for balanced and fair decision making.
- I have co-authored peer-reviewed studies on how to improve democracy.
- I am the only announced female mayoral candidate. Women have historically been significantly underrepresented on city council and Saskatoon has not yet elected a female mayor.
Prior to making the decision to become a mayoral candidate, I undertook research that clearly demonstrated that the citizens of Saskatoon are dissatisfied with the status quo and looking for a change. I asked people what they consider to be the key issues and developed my priorities on what people told me. What I learned is that most people are looking for a leader with a new perspective to address their concerns, not for more of the same or another member of council to become mayor
This municipal election should be a contest of ideas, not ideologies; of capabilities, not labels. Citizens need to hear true debate and discussion and conduct their own research on who will best represent their interests. A healthy democracy needs to challenge the past and the status quo if it is to be at all prepared to reflect the needs of its citizens now and into the future. I am proud to provide a choice for Saskatoon residents to elect a new mayor to serve and represent them.
On Election Day vote for the candidate that best reflects your Value and Vision for the City of Saskatoon and who has demonstrated the kind of leadership you want to see in a mayor of a vibrant, growing community.
I am Kelley Moore and I want to be your mayor.
#ExpectMoore from your mayor