Students need to vote

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Be honest: you had no idea there were by-elections going on this week./ Taras Matkovsky

Be honest: you had no idea there were by-elections going on this week./ Taras Matkovsky

Use your voice, or be shut up entirely.

Author: Sydney McWilliams

This generation have grown up in a time where the importance of voting has been diminished, where political opinion is not something you talk about. Let’s face it, the opportunity to vote is not what most people look forward to when they turn eighteen. Even some adults won’t even put in the effort to cast a ballot at elections. Most students nowadays cannot even be bothered to vote in elections for their own union. There is an overwhelming lack of interest in politics from younger people. Even if you do not think so, most people take our democracy for granted. Taking the time out to cast a vote when elections roll around is not only important to your country, but also to the integrity of the democratic process.

The thing I do not understand is why people would not want to vote. Canada’s government is a representative democracy. We do not get a direct say in anything that goes on. We elect people to make decisions on our behalf and when you do not vote, you are letting fewer and fewer people choose who makes the decisions for you. If only half of a country is voting, is it truly a democracy? People complain about every single issue they can think of such as taxes and housing prices and, especially for students, tuition, but we are doing nothing to change our reality. We are making it worse by not voting. You never hear a politician make promises of keeping tuition low because they know trying to get the youth vote is pointless; we just don’t show up. Most people in North America live in some degree of comfort that is breeding an apathetic attitude towards politics.

As a student, voting is worthwhile. We will be the next group of people raising kids, buying houses and paying taxes. So why are we all waiting to get involved? If more students voted at the municipal, provincial and federal levels, more people would care about what we had to say and we would no longer be brushed to the side as a group of people unable to make informed decisions. If we do not care, our kids won’t care, and the cycle will never end until we eventually live in a country where nobody could care to vote. I urge the people of my generation to take an interest in politics, I am not saying that you all have to become huge politics nerds but next time elections roll around, even for the student union, take a few minutes to educate yourself on the candidates and vote. Encourage your friends to vote and, if you have to, encourage your parents to vote. If you want to see the issues you care about being dealt with, the first step is making informed voting decisions. Take advantage of the right that so many people fought to give you, and start voting.

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