Province-wide communications program to ensure 8.5 million Ontario voters
are prepared to make an informed decision on October 10, 2007
TORONTO, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - In preparation for Ontario's October 10, 2007
referendum on electoral reform, Elections Ontario launched the first phase of
its referendum public education campaign today. The "Understand the Question"
campaign is designed to ensure that Ontario's 8.5 million registered voters
are aware that the referendum is taking place and feel adequately informed to
make a decision when it comes time to mark their referendum ballots this Fall.
At the same time as the general provincial election on October 10,
Ontario voters will also receive a referendum ballot to choose whether to
continue the current electoral system, known as First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), or
adopt the Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system proposed by the
Citizens' Assembly. This marks the first time since 1792 that electors are
being asked to consider a change to the way that Ontario's provincial
representatives are elected.
"Our mandate is to ensure that Ontario voters are not only aware that a
referendum is occurring on October 10, but believe they are adequately
prepared to make an informed decision based on their individual considerations
and priorities," said John Hollins, Chief Electoral Officer, Elections
"Through our past experience and ongoing consultation with political
science and literacy experts, we have designed a program that we believe
reflects Ontario's scope and diversity, delivers impartial educational
information and allows voters to become informed through a variety of
mediums," continued Hollins. "It also allows us the flexibility to make
adjustments based on voter questions as we move forward towards the actual
referendum date.""Understand the Question" Campaign Elements
- The Elections Ontario referendum public education website,
www.yourbigdecision.ca launching today, provides voters with
impartial tools to define and understand both the First-Past-the-Post
and the Mixed Member Proportional electoral systems and to assess
these systems against individual voter priorities and considerations.
Voters may also register their email addresses for information
updates as website content will be continually enriched.
- A public toll free information telephone line, 1-888-ONTVOTE
(1-888-668-8683), is available beginning today to assist voters with
- A Facebook profile and group launches today to increase referendum
awareness and provide another channel for voters to make information
inquiries though the email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
- A community-level French and English media relations program is
underway to distribute impartial information defining both electoral
systems, critieria for making a choice against individual voter
priorities and identifying other "Understand the Question"
- A province-wide French and English newspaper advertising campaign and
a further community and ethnic newspaper campaign in 25 languages
will appear beginning the first week of September.
- A province-wide "Understand the Question" French and English radio
campaign launches today and will run until August 13, 2007.
- Over 100 Resource Officers are being hired to deliver local community
information sessions throughout the province. To request an
information session voters may do so through www.yourbigdecision.ca,
1-888-ONT VOTE (1-888-668-8683) or email@example.com.
- An online advertising program will begin in early September targeting
high traffic Ontario portals of Canadian websites to encourage voters
to visit www.yourbigdecision.ca for information.
- A Youtube information site and a downloadable widget (an online viral
web tool) will be available later in August to raise awareness and
direct voters to "Understand the Question" information resources.
- A province-wide "Understand the Question" French and English
television campaign will launch in September, 2007.
- A French and English direct mail information program will be
distributed in September, 2007 to all Ontario voters.
- Householders (unaddressed ad-mail) will be distributed to homes
across the province immediately after Labour Day and again in the
beginning of October.About the Referendum
In June 2005, the Ontario Legislature began a process to review electoral
systems. In March 2006, the Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform, an
independent body representing in the electors in Ontario, was created. They
were asked to assess Ontario's current electoral system and different
electoral systems, and recommend whether Ontario should retain its current
system or adopt a different one. The Citizens' Assembly's proposal has
resulted in this Referendum.
About Elections Ontario
Elections Ontario is the non-partisan agency responsible for
administering provincial elections, by-elections and referendums in the
Province of Ontario
For further information: Elynn Wareham, GCI Group for Elections Ontario,
(416) 486-5910, firstname.lastname@example.org; Matt Roth, GCI Group for Elections
Ontario, (416) 486-5911, email@example.com