Thank you for your question.
I am fundamentally concerned about the direction that turnout is going in western democracies and here in Canada.
In our last general election here in Saskatchewan, we did something that was a bit different. A document I'll be releasing to the Legislative Assembly in the next couple of months describes how we, instead of measuring the number of registered voters, changed to assessing turnout vis-à-vis the number of eligible voters.
Traditionally, when we measured it against registered voters, our turnout numbers were in the range of 65%; in this particular context, when we looked at it in the context of eligible voters, it went down in 2016 to 53.5% of eligible voters, but in 2011 it was 51.1%, so we actually saw an increase in turnout for this election vis-à-vis eligible voters.
However, to me—and the people of Saskatchewan will hear more about this in the fall—it is of fundamental concern, because so many voters have essentially checked out and are not part of the process.
Your question had to do with whether a change in the system would, in the short term or in the long run, increase voter turnout. I guess my response would be that I don't know. I can't answer that question, other than to say there are very many variables, many elements, in an election system—which is inclusive of an electoral system—that have an impact on voter turnout. I can't say that a change in the electoral system will have the impact of increasing the number of voters who turn out. What I would say is that it's one of those variables, and there are certainly unintended consequences to implementing new electoral systems as you move forward, so you don't know what might happen.