Photo Credit: City of Edmonton
Monday, October 16 is Election Day in Edmonton, Alberta.
To say that this hasn’t been the most exciting election in Edmonton’s history is a bit of an understatement. The lack of a competitive race for the mayor’s chair has rendered this a bit of a snoozer of an election in all but a handful of competitive races and open councillor seats.
As a result, when you talk to people in Edmonton in the last week, you’ll sometimes hear that people don’t plan to vote or don’t see how it can make a difference. It’s a tale as old as elections themselves:
“My vote doesn’t matter that much.”
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Here’s a few reasons why your vote matters, no matter what election you have a chance to cast a ballot in:
- People have fought and died for your right to vote – You’ve heard this one before. “The tree of freedom is watered with the blood of patriots.” That’s a bit severe, but it’s true. Voting is democracy and democracy is freedom. The biggest wars in human history were fought in the 20th century to ensure as many people on this planet could live in a free and open society. With every vote we cast, we honour those values and the sacrifices made in their name.
- Even today, people make incredible sacrifices to live in freedom – Every day, people around the world pack only what they can carry and uproot their entire lives to live in a country like Canada, where they live in freedom and prosperity. Participation in democratic elections is a hallmark of that freedom. Even better, in Canada, we live in a country where immigrants not only proudly vote when they become citizens, but often stand for elections themselves.
- Representative democracy isn’t that old – Democracy may have been invented by the ancient Greeks, but the democracy as we experience it today – where every citizen of age has the right to cast a vote – is actually not very old. Embarrassingly, women and Indigenous Canadians (among others) have had the right to vote in Canada for LESS THAN 100 YEARS. Our modern democracy is still evolving – every time you cast a ballot in any election, you add to the strength of our collective voice.
- A vote validates the work of your community – Right now, in addition to the 132 candidates that put themselves and their ideas up for election, thousands of Edmontonians are working their hardest to support their candidates as volunteers for campaigns across the city. They are delivering flyers, writing speeches, coordinating volunteers, creating marketing material and many other duties. Their work is essential to the health of our democracy! Your vote is a thumbs up to those wonderful people.
- Slim margins are always a possibility – The 2016 Presidential election was essentially decided by less than 0.06% of all the votes cast in that election – an insanely slim margin that had profound consequences not only for America, but for the world. (If you want to discuss that math with me, please feel free to email me or talk to me on Twitter!)
There are thousands of other reasons to vote. In the next election, I hope you find yours.
Your vote matters deeply.
For Edmontonians, you can find your polling station here.