Starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday – if they hadn’t already voted at advance polls – voters started heading to the polling stations to cast their vote in this May 30 provincial election. The polls will close at 8 p.m.
There are a variety of reasons why people vote the way they do, and sometimes these reasons change from election to election. They may vote strictly for the candidate they want to represent them. They may vote for the party, for the leader, for a platform, for an issue. Or, rather than voting for something, they may vote against these things.
On the streets, and on social media, we’ve heard and read a variety of reasons why people will be casting their vote the way they will.
But then you also hear from those who won’t be voting. My vote doesn’t count, they say. (Although really, every vote always counts so people shouldn’t feel this way.) They say they dislike politics, or that everyone is the same once in office, so why bother to vote?
We hope people bother for a many reasons – most of all, though, because you can.
There are democracies in the world where people are not given the same rights and freedoms (or safety) to cast a ballot. We shouldn't look at voting as an inconvenience or a bother – or something we've been turned off from doing – but rather as a right we are fortunate to have.
Whether your vote achieves your desired outcome when all the votes are all tallied remains to be seen, but really every vote should send a message to every candidate or party. While parties will be focusing on the numbers of votes they receive, they should never dismiss the ones they don't. Votes says a lot of things.
They will say: We agree, let’s continue to move forward.
They’ll say: You were on the wrong track.
They’ll say: You are out of touch.
They will say: We’ve given you our trust and confidence, don't disappoint us.
They will say: Keep listening to us.
They will say: You haven't listened at all.
They will say: Thank you.
They will say: Goodbye.
That’s a lot, collectively, from an X.
No one – not the voters, not the parties, not the leaders – will get everything they want out of this election. But there have been important issues raised and it is obvious there are many areas that need dire attention. The conversations that have taken place over the past 30 days need to continue.
Lastly, we’d be remiss if we didn’t congratulate everyone who has put their names forward to run in this election. Win or lose, it takes a lot of guts, a lot of commitment, and a lot of desire to help others to put your name on a ballot.
It's something the majority of us don’t, or won’t, do, so thanks to those of you who have.