There Is No Excuse Not To Vote

On Wednesday this week I voted in the advanced polls of the 2015 Canadian federal election.  Less than 3 hours later I overheard a conversation between three 20-somethings discussing why they won't be voting in this election, and I just about exploded.  Let me say this clearly and right up front:

There is no excuse not to vote.  None.

You may think you have an excuse, but you don't.  Let me show you why. And then get your butt over to your local Elections Canada polling station and do your civic duty, goddamnit! 

(For all of the Americans out there, don't think this doesn't apply to you.  You have 13 months to go before you're up!)

Excuse #1 I haven't followed the election/I'm not educated on the parties' policies.

While I respect your desire to make an informed decision, if your lack of knowledge is paralyzing you to the point that it prevents you from making any choice at all, you're taking it too far.  You can NEVER have all of the facts.  All you can do is your best to learn about the leaders, their parties, and the candidates in your riding and then make the best choice for you.

Want to learn about each party's platforms?  Read here.

Want to find out which riding you're in to find your candidates and learn about them?  Enter your postal code here.

Want to hear the leaders speak about their policies and beliefs?  Watch debates here, and here, and here, and interviews here.

Excuse #2 My vote doesn't matter.

Every vote matters.  Every.  Single.  One.  One vote can win or lose a riding, and one riding can win or lose an election.  Your vote matters.  Every vote is weighed equally, and we need the honest votes of every eligible Canadian citizen to end up with a government that is representative of our population and wants and needs as a country.  Don't just throw away your wonderful privilege to have your say in how your country is governed. 

Want a better voting system than the current "past the post" model?  Vote for one of the parties that promise to change it (all parties with the exception of Stephen Harper's Conservatives).

Early voting is open until October 13th at 6pm.  Go make your voice heard!

Excuse #3 There is no good option.

If you don't vote, you can't complain about the outcome of the election.  YOU have the chance to influence who will lead our country for the next four years. and while you may not agree wholeheartedly with each party's politics, you do have a responsibility to make the choice you believe is best.  Even if you feel it is a choice of the lesser of three (five) evils.  That's just another way to say the best choice.  And don't you want the best possible party and person to lead our country?

Excuse #4 I don't have time/Voting is a hassle.

Do you know what else is a hassle?  Living in a country that is going down the drain due to poor leadership.  Do you know what else eats into your busy schedule?  Going to jail because you demand to have the right to vote (*cough cough* women in the 1910s).

Voting is an incredibly fast process.  You confirm your identity and address, you fill in your ballot, you go home.  You maybe have to wait in line for a couple of minutes.  This is not an epic adventure we're talking about here, this isn't the hobbit, ok?  This is an in and out procedure.  Pen on paper.  Just get it done.  (If you have time to stop at Starbucks before class you have time to vote on the way home, just sayin'.)

Excuse #5 I can't decide.

Fair.  It can be hard to make up your mind about such an important choice.  But do you know what?  All of the best decisions are hard to make.  This is one of those decisions.  This is the time to put all of your weight into it and come through.  Not to sound too dramatic, but your country needs you.  Literally.  

Excuse #6 It's too hard to balance party politics with leaders and local candidates.

It's also too hard to resist eating all of the grapes in my fridge.  Tell someone who cares.  Do your research and make your choice.

Really need help?  That's completely fine.  Check out these quizzes to figure out how you align with each party: or Vote Compass.  Or, if you're feeling really crazy, both!

Excuse #7 I'm boycotting because...

No.  This flawed logic drives me mental.  If you have a strong belief about a topic it is SO IMPORTANT that you vote for the candidate who can lead the country in the direction.  Not voting does nothing.  No one gets a notification on their phone letting them know that you didn't vote because you want a, b, and c.  No one gets any message at all.  When you vote you are saying without a doubt that THIS is the person you want to represent you in your riding, and further, that THIS is the party you want to represent you on the world's stage.  Why not take the opportunity to chose someone who aligns with your beliefs or is at least most likely to see your point of view?  The way to influence change is to be part of the political process.

Doing nothing gets you nothing.  This is no excuse.

Excuse #8 I don't care.

You should care.  You really should.  Our democratic system may be flawed, but at least we have one.  You should be thanking your lucky stars you weren't born in Cuba, or Syria, or North Korea, or the countless other places in countless other times in which you couldn't have had your say regardless of if you cared.  In Canada, our government WANTS to know what you think.  And you're just going to throw it away?  Talk about disrespecting the millions of people who never had the chance to influence their government, have their say, or vote.  

Voting in this election may be the most important thing you do all year.  Don't let October 19th pass you by. 

Until next time,

It's time to vote!  Just do it.

Are you going to vote on October 19th?

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