Hi again Daniel! Great post, btw - good topic and a fantastic turnout of responses. I just wanted to add two more cents worth, if I may.
If regards to what Steve (and a few others) mentioned about punishment, rewards or citizen points...I believe it is Australia that has 95% voter turnout - only because if they do not vote they get fined. But in such a case I think you open the ballot to an eenie meenie moe selection process or (as in my case as a younger voter) the most radical group (Greenpeace or the Marijuana party). Isn't it better to have well informed constituents turning out than a bitter 'I'm forced to and don't care' voter.
Which leads me to my other cent and what DavidR8 talked about. North America as a whole has become extremely apathetic and complacent. Having been in Canada during the last election David spoke of, I too was shocked at the low voter turnout. Canada has always had a laid back sort of persona, but when it comes to issues it's almost as if they can't be bothered. And on the west coast there's a feeling of 'we don't matter anyhow, the hill (Ottawa) doesn't give a damn about anything out west'. Population in Eastern Canada is so concentrated that any federal decision is usually made by the time you get to Saskatchewan (heading westbound).
Maybe I'm romanticizing the era of the 60s, but where are our watchdogs and groups that refuse to be walked over and say "HEY, our opinion matters!!!"?