Halifax — In Tuesday’s provincial election, less than 54 percent of eligible Nova Scotia voters turned up to cast a ballot, marking the lowest voter turnout since 1960, and probably the lowest turnout of registered electors since the province’s first general election in 1867.
“What better way to celebrate our country’s confederation than to skip out on voting and just let the Liberals take control once again?” said Elections Nova Scotia representative John Burns. “Our astonishing level of apathy is what makes this province unique, and Canada 150 is all about celebrating our uniqueness.”
Rather than participate in democracy, many constituents opted to stay at home on Tuesday huddled by their fireplaces, eating cold gruel, patching old socks and “getting a feel for how 1867 Canadians lived.”
“Back in 1867, Nova Scotia was heavily involved in industries like shipbuilding, railways, farming — things people rarely do these days,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “I, for one, respect the wishes of those who took Tuesday to plow fields or pound some railroad track spikes to help get into that 1867 mindset.
“Hardly anyone voted back then, and not everyone needs to vote now,” added the re-elected premier.
Truro historian Byron Harrison said that, in 1867, people didn’t vote for a variety of reasons.
“They were busy making sure no one stormed the Citadel or burned their crops. Voting was seen as unimportant. And there was no Internet or TV, so there were no smear campaigns or attack ads. And back then, women still weren’t allowed to vote.
“Now they don’t vote because they don’t feel like it. But at least they have the right not to feel like it,” offered Harrison.
Nova Scotia’s campaign to entice young voters by encouraging them to take selfies after voting backfired on the government, with many Nova Scotians instead posting selfies of themselves living in squalor, tilling fields, birthing children on their own, and dying of common illnesses that modern medicine could have prevented, all with the hashtag #NoVoteScotia.
Harrison concluded that, “A hundred and fifty years ago, chronic disease was a factor. Now, it’s disillusionment. Regardless of the reason, Nova Scotia is choosing to honour our heritage by not voting.”