Undecided in Calgary’s mayoral race? Don’t worry, it’s OK

Calgarians are waffling over choices for mayor - but don't worry, it's pretty normal.

An Elections Calgary sign at city hall directs voters to advanced vote locations. LIVEWIRE CALGARY FILE PHOTO

Still undecided in Calgary’s upcoming municipal election?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

According to recent polling released by Leger and Janet Brown Opinion Research, one in three Calgarians are undecided in their mayoral vote. Calgary goes to the polls on Oct. 18, though advanced vote stations have been open all week.

We’ll point out that, so far, advanced vote numbers are up substantially over the last municipal election.

Just prior to Canada’s recent federal election, Ipsos provided information that showed one in eight people were undecided in that election. That’s about 13 per cent. Federal elections typically register higher on voter engagement.

Polling late in the 2017 municipal campaign had Calgary’s undecideds at 30 per cent. So, take a deep breath: A.) It’s OK. B.) You still have time.

University of Calgary political scientist Jack Lucas said it’s actually pretty typical.

“We have to remember that even in the best of circumstances, a substantial number of eligible voters are not going to turn out,” he said.

“So, many undecided voters don’t end up as decided voters, they end up as non-voters.”

According to the Elections Calgary website, the voter turnout in 2017 was 58.1 per cent. For the mathematically challenged, that’s roughly 42 per cent of people not voting.

Decisions, decisions

There’s a lot that goes into why Calgarians are still on the fence, particularly with their mayoral preference.

Saddleridge resident Dale Mcleish said this is a pivotal election and there’s a ton of information to chew through. Twenty-seven candidates makes for a lot of research, he said.

“I suspect for a lot of people (the number of candidates) will create a psychological barrier,” Mcleish said.

“It requires time dedicated to a very important decision. For myself, I know I just have to do it because of how important it is.”

The type of campaign hasn’t really thrown Mcleish off; it feels typical to him. The stakes are just higher, he said.

“Nenshi set the bar pretty high,” Mcleish said.

On Twitter, @mike90025 said that they’re having a hard time deciding between Jeromy Farkas and Jyoti Gondek.

They feel the two are aligned on some important issues. They’ve based that off the Reddit AMAs both candidates have done.

“Many of the issues that they don’t align on may be a low priority for a lot of people (like me),” they wrote in a Twitter response.

Though Mcleish is doing the homework, the recent polling does impact his perception of the race.

“I do want to know the front-runners. There might be a reason why they are front-runners and want to understand why,” he said.

“Ultimately, I will vote for who I think will lead Calgary to a brighter future, regardless if they are in the top 5 candidates or not.”

 Issue-specific voting

Southeast Calgary resident Hugh Baker had a more specific reason for taking extra time to decide. He’s making a decision based on how a specific issue will be represented moving forward.

“The most important issue for me is where the candidates are on social issues such as inclusivity and race relations,” Baker said.

“I feel this is something that has the potential of being glossed over.”

Baker is Black man who, with his wife, are raising two mixed-race sons. He said the issue isn’t just important to him personally. Knowing that work will be done so his sons can have the same opportunities as other men in Calgary is critical.

His field of candidates is narrowed down. The two Baker’s leaning toward have both said good things on this issue of equality and inclusion.

“I am torn between voting for someone who has the lived experience from a race perspective and someone who has shown a willingness to listen, learn and lead others to do the same,” he said.

“To me, it needs to remain front and centre so the conversations can continue and help to make this a better city to live in regardless of your race or faith.”

Need more information on candidates? Visit our handy candidate list with much of what you need to know.

About Darren Krause 961 Articles
Journalist, husband, father, golfer, writer, painter, video gamer, gardener, amateur botanist, dreamer, realist... never in that order.

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