Choosing not to vote shouldn’t be an option

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Silence isn’t the best answer. Pixabay

Your vote does make a difference

This week on “Yes, We’re Still Having This Conversation”: why voting matters. This is about way more than just the fact that it’s a right people died for. Though that’s an incredibly valid reason to vote, it’s also been a mantra for decades and hasn’t done much to increase voter turnout.

According to Elections Canada, the percentage of voters ages 18-24 jumped from 38 per cent to 57 per cent last election which is incredible, but there’s still 43 per cent not making their voices heard. That’s close to two million people who, if they voted, could help direct the future of our country.

One major reason to vote as a young adult is that politicians look at who votes. If there’s a large number of young voters, the issues we see as important will have a higher priority placed on them. Our demographic voting also reminds said politicians that we are an active part of this country. Their job during election season is to earn our votes, and if the percentage of us voting consistently increases, so should their prioritizing of our values and needs.

This is a chance to do more than share political memes on Facebook or argue with your relatives over holiday meals; this sends a message directly to the individuals who can implement change.

A common excuse for not voting is that people don’t know what each party stands for, and they don’t know how to educate themselves. This is solvable through a Google search for comparisons of party viewpoints and future plans for pertinent issues. While it can be difficult to find a source that’s truly unbiased, the information is out there. Rather than swiping through Tinder on your next commute, try educating yourself thoroughly so you can vote for a party aligned with your values.

The most common excuse I hear people saying is that they just don’t have the time, which I’d like to label as the laziest cop-out around. Thanks to our system there are advanced polls in the weeks leading up to the election date, and your employer is legally obligated to give you time to vote. Our city’s transit system is even offering free transit on Election Day to help those otherwise unable to get to the polls – the options are there if you look. The time it takes to vote is hardly a fraction of the time that goes by in our four-year terms; it’s the least we can do.

Politics affects every aspect of life. Would you like to see our minimum wage become a living wage? Do you value religious freedom and equality? Are you scared by our country’s direction environmentally? Do you critique how budgets are handled? Are you dreading your growing student debt and the looming interest attached? This is your big shot to make your values known and cause progress in the problems you see. This is your chance to make your voice heard and actually make a difference.

Yes, it is within your personal right to not vote, but that choice has consequences. If you have the time to talk about the changes you want to see, you have the time to do something about it. If you don’t vote, don’t bitch about the changes you won’t see happening. You had your shot.

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