I’m going to start this off by saying that in no way am I an expert when it comes to politics. While I did take one politics class in high school, I really don’t remember much of it except for the class where we did a model U.N. in the cafeteria that shook out much like an episode of Parks and Recreation (seriously, if you haven’t watched The Treaty episode, treat yourself to it AFTER YOU VOTE). Despite not being super well-versed when it comes to politics, I’ve voted in every election since I turned 18.
Last time there was a provincial election, voter turnout was 52.1 per cent of the 9.2 million eligible voters. While that voter turnout is a little higher than a few elections before that, that means that just over half of the people who are able to cast a ballot actually bothered to show up to do so.
When I talk to people who say that they’re not going to vote, it often comes down to two things: either they claim to not care about politics or they don’t like any of the options that are available. If you fall into the first group, I’m willing to bet that you can find at least one issue that matters to you that is influenced by politics.
Do you have any opinion about public transit, whether positive or negative? You should vote. Do you care about the rights of LGBTQIA+ people? You should vote. Would you lose your shit if you saw an increase in your taxes? You should vote. Do you think it would be pretty rad if the province funded childcare services? You should vote. Do you care about how the legalization of marijuana is going to be handled by the government? You should vote. Do you have opinions over whether the government should help cover the cost of prescriptions? You should vote. Are you concerned about the rising costs of rent or how overwhelming this housing market is? You should vote.
If you don’t want to vote because you fall into the “I don’t like any of the candidates” camp, I get it, but that still isn’t a good enough reason to not get to the polls. You have two options: either to do a lot of research and find a candidate who most aligns with how you feel about various issues or go to the polls and decline your ballot. This is NOT the same as not voting at all and it sends a message that you’re displeased with the current state of things.
I could tell you a lot of things that you’ve probably heard before; voting is powerful, every vote counts, a lot of people don’t even have the option to vote for who represents them in the government and it’s lazy if you don’t take advantage of this democratic freedom. What it really boils down to for me is one pretty simple thing: I really like to have the right to complain.
I vote for the right to complain and if you don’t vote then you can’t complain about the way that things are. If you’re unhappy with the current state of things and you don’t try to do anything to change it then you are part of the problem. So do you want to complain along with me? Then I’ll see you at the polls (just kidding, I voted in the advance polls, but you know what I mean).
Now I’m going to hit you with some resources in case you need them:
- Take this test to see what party your interests align with
- Still not loving any of the candidates? This is how to decline your vote
- Check here to find where to vote in your riding