Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'No one cares,' worker concludes of low turnout

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NIVERVILLE -- Turnout here for Tuesday's Morris byelection hovered around a lowly 10 per cent as many would-be voters stayed home to get the furnace turned back on.

Or that was the excuse.

Polling-station workers said the real reason is most wouldn't have voted anyway.

"No one cares," one woman said.

By 4 p.m., only 215 people had voted -- an average of 27 each for the eight stations -- and workers were counting on the after-work and after-dinner crowds to bump numbers up.

Niverville and the immediate area around it were hit by Saturday's natural-gas pipeline explosion, leaving many without heat. Hydro crews made the rounds early Tuesday switching furnaces back on, and people had to be home to let them in.

"People's minds are preoccupied," said Niverville resident Roger Armbruster, whose heat went back on earlier in the day. "I do feel that for other reasons, people just forgot there was a byelection."

Election workers listed off those reasons: The political parties did little to promote their candidates as election signs were scarce; the cold weather kept many seniors at home; and there was a recent federal byelection in the area that saw Tory Ted Falk go to Ottawa.

"People are just electioned-out," one said.

Armbuster said all are poor reasons not to vote.

"If we don't support a candidate how can they support the community?" he said.

"I wish people would just get out and vote instead of complain."

-- Bruce Owen

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 29, 2014 A4

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