Small Town Voting

New West’s relative “smallness” is part of its charm. It’s easy to see the same people and make connections when you attend events. Into sports? I bet the same families attend Hyacks, ‘Bellies, and rec league hockey and soccer games. Into green living? I bet the same crowd attends Green Drinks, the farmers market, and the community garden events. Into beer? Well… you get the picture.

If politics is more your thing, well, New West gets into politics in a huge way and there’s certainly no shortage of opinions and information flying around, and that’s been the case for a long time. Part of how Tenth evolved as a site was a number of political posts and activities. New West has been called the NDP stronghold in local and regional media for years, though a number of other parties and independent candidates have run for federal, provincial, and municipal elections with lots of supporters and exposure in previous elections.

This election period has been the most challenging campaign I’ve experienced as a voter since I began when I was 18. I haven’t volunteered at all as my schedule hasn’t allowed it but I’ve attended a few events and Tenth to the Fraser co-hosted an All Candidates Meeting where I slung beers and did my best to live tweet. I really do appreciate how hard a number of my friends and colleagues are working to get their chosen candidates elected.

Everyone has their own “system” for how they choose who they’re voting for, but for me, I typically select a candidate based on them as a person rather than their party affiliation automatically telling me to vote for them. What will they do for their constituents? What skills do they bring? How much do I trust them? But what happens when there are two candidates who filter up to the top of the pile? What happens when there are two people who you know can do a good job? What happens when the charming small town you love has never felt so small?

Well, then you look to the party and the party leader. It’s a whole new way to decide how to vote for me. I’ve never felt this exhausted about an election, and I’ve never struggled to make a decision as much as this one. I’ve spent hours reading platforms, asking questions, and listening as much as I can. I can’t imagine also finding time to door knock, push paper, write copy, and generally help on a campaign. So my thanks to the volunteers who are working so hard to make this small town be a great place.

The one message all of the candidates I’ve talked to have agreed on is this: there has never been a more important time to vote. So if you haven’t yet gotten a chance to pop into the voting place in advance polls, stop by before 8pm today. It is a privilege to be able to vote, and you throw that away if you don’t make time. Your employer is legally obliged to allow you to go and vote today and it is an easy process.

Whether your riding is New Westminster or Richmond-Queensborough, there are lots of places to vote today. Use this handy dandy finder to pick your spot. You don’t have to have a voter card (though it’s a bit faster if you do) so take your ID and go. The staff are friendly and welcoming and they’ll make it as easy as possible for you to exercise your voting privilege.

And good luck to all of New Westminster’s candidates.