With only a few days left until the election, the message I want to get out to people is simply this: please go vote.
In the 2010 Edmonton election, voter turn out was 33.4%. It was not very good, though an improvement over prior elections.
Turn out at Edmonton municipal elections lags way behind the provincial and federal elections, where the most recent elections saw voter turn out at around 54%. Even at that, Canada ranks 14th out of 17 peer countries internationally.
For federal elections, the lowest turn out is among young people, people with less education or those in lower income brackets. Single parent families and immigrants are also less likely to vote. With the exception of the youth vote, this suggests that those who may be most in need of representation aren’t seeking it. It may seem trite, but I’ll say it anyhow: every vote counts.
As for the youth vote, the issue is apathy. Many youth just don’t see how the issues affect them, and don’t think about the fact that the decisions made over the next 4 years will play out when they are starting careers and families. Youth who have an interest in politics or have discussed it with their families, though, are more likely to go to the polls. The city is making extra efforts to reach young voters by setting up polls at the University of Alberta, MacEwan University, and NAIT.
While many non-voters with young children cite being too busy to vote, there is no reason not to take the kids to the polls with you. Squeeze it in between school and hockey. Give them the opportunity to see how an election works, and increase their likelihood of participating when they reach 18.
We are so lucky to live in a country, a province, and a city where we have the opportunity to vote. I urge you not to take it for granted.
Please, just go vote. Today, tomorrow, or on Monday.
And I ask humbly, consider me as your choice for City Councillor in Ward 5.