Just vote!

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Pontiac Perspectives by Peter Gauthier

There’s a federal election scheduled for September 20. Past elections have had a turn-out of 60 to 68 percent of eligible voters. This is somewhat higher than recent elections in the United States, but significantly lower than European democracies. This raises the question “why vote?”

Pontiac Perspectives by Peter Gauthier

There’s a federal election scheduled for September 20. Past elections have had a turn-out of 60 to 68 percent of eligible voters. This is somewhat higher than recent elections in the United States, but significantly lower than European democracies. This raises the question “why vote?”
To answer, we might consider some reasons for not voting. For the upcoming election, it could be: this election isn’t required. It’s not the right time for an election, the government had at least two more years before one was required and they didn’t lose a confidence motion. Another reason: one vote really doesn’t make a difference in who is elected so why waste my time on voting? Third: our system of first-past-the-post doesn’t give a fair representation of voter preferences. A fourth one: it doesn’t matter who’s elected, they’re all only interested in their own wellbeing, not community needs. And, in addition to these, there’s the current issue of the COVID pandemic.
Not voting also means letting other people make choices for you; and not voting gives greater power to those who do vote. Under our electoral system, every vote has monetary value and not voting wastes this value. Most importantly, not voting sends a message to the community that you do not care about our society and country and its democratic institutions.
On the other hand, voting does something positive. It allows you to express your opinion on important issues that have a direct impact on you and your community. By voting, you are contributing to the smooth functioning of society and are avoiding political disruptions that create hardships and illegal acts. By voting you’re holding your representative and the government responsible for defending your basic rights. You’re also making a statement about the value of various social programs and the use of government revenues. Most importantly, you’re preserving the vitality and significance of a democratic system of government.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic will affect some of the details on how and where ballots are marked and counted. For this election, it’s important that voters become aware of the different options and requirements for casting a vote. Our voting system is designed to enable every eligible voter the opportunity to mark a ballot. However, this time there are a few special considerations to enhance opportunities for voting during the COVID crisis.  Voters should become aware of these and be prepared to select the method that best matches their personal preferences.
In summary; vote! Even if you don’t like any of the candidates, mark your ballot with “None of the Above.” Your ballot will be counted as spoiled, but at least you’ll be exercising your democratic right. Preferably, with our multi-party system, you can select a candidate that best represents your ideas and desires for good governance.