What are you losing if you don’t vote Nov. 19?

Remember that scene in “You Have Mail” where Meg Ryan is explaining to Greg Kinnear why they should break up? She confesses to him that during the last election she went for a manicure and forgot to vote. That’s right, went for a manicure, and forgot to vote. Apparently this is more common that I would have thought as 75% of New Westminster’s population didn’t vote in the last election – were they at the spa?

Limited edition Tenth to the Fraser buttons, reading "I Voted" and "Spoiled Ballot." Buttons pressed by http://artfag.me/
Limited edition Tenth to the Fraser buttons, reading "I Voted" and "Spoiled Ballot." Buttons pressed by http://artfag.me/

Remember that scene in “You’ve Got Mail” where Meg Ryan is explaining to Greg Kinnear why they should break up? She confesses to him that during the last election she went for a manicure and forgot to vote. That’s right, went for a manicure, and forgot to vote. Apparently this is more common that I would have thought as 75% of New Westminster’s population didn’t vote in the last election – were they at the spa?

Or perhaps they didn’t think the candidates they liked had any chance of winning, they didn’t do their research and had no idea who to vote for, or there were simply too many candidates to choose from. Maybe they don’t care about local issues, or they weren’t registered and couldn’t find their ID? There are a lot of reasons not to vote I suppose from simply forgetting to being too lazy on a rainy day.

Many people I talk to around the Lower Mainland haven’t given this election much thought yet, there are only a select few who have really been involved enough to read up, interact with candidates, attend debates, and monitor social media. Most will make their decisions based on who showed up at their door and what their campaign literature looked like, that is if they remember to go to the polls on Saturday at all.

So what’s going to get people out to vote? I thought about what incentives could be offered, maybe doughnuts or even beer. Would you show up to vote for a beer? What if the City offered everyone who showed up to vote an entry into a contest for cash? Or a $1000 credit on your property taxes? Free electricity for a year?

Nope, that would be a disaster. Imagine how many spoiled ballots there would be from jokers who really didn’t care in the first place and just wanted the free beer and doughnuts. Plus you’d have to apply for a special event liquor license, which if any of you have ever attempted know what a pain in the ass that is!

So, back to the drawing board. But let’s get serious about this. Why not attack this from another angle – what are you LOSING if you don’t vote?

If you don’t vote this election, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you for the next three years. I mean it, nothing: no complaints, no comments, no suggestions, NOTHING. In my eyes you will have lost the right to be invested in your community at all. If you find yourself wanting to gripe about recycling collection, traffic on Columbia Street or the price of ice skating at Moody Park, stop yourself. That’s right, you’re not allowed to say a thing, because you didn’t take the time to vote.

We are a community, New West consists of us. We have the power to affect change through the simple act of voting Saturday. And in a small community like ours every vote counts even more. There are lots of great resources on www.tenthtothefraser.ca, so no excuse not to do your research.

Want the right to complain? Then pony up! VOTE!

Helpful links on election day:

You may also want to check out the following links for more information on the candidates:

Kendra Johnston

Kendra Johnston is a really valued member of the Tenth to the Fraser community. Interested in joining our pool of writers? Please see these submission guidelines.

6 comments

  1. As to the reason why people don't, I think you come closest with this: "they didn’t do their research and had no idea who to vote for, or there were simply too many candidates to choose from".

    "Doing the research" has historically been hard to do. This is far worse than provincial or federal elections, where you only have to pick one person, or easier yet, one party to vote for. In the civic elections, you have to choose more than a dozen people from a list of nearly three dozen largely unaligned candidates. How many people are able, and indeed have ever been able, to take the time from already busy schedules to find out what Each And Every One of These Three Dozen People stands for?

    Yes, one can come out to the All Candidates meetings — and listen to the whole lot (well, most) of them earnestly telling us not what they stand for, exactly, but very definitely what they think we want to hear. Getting through a political candidate's verbiage wall and discovering their actual convictions and goals is anything but simple.

    I can truly sympathize with those who throw up their hands and give up.

    Fortunately, this year, there is another option. Namely, you can spend an evening reading through what the candidates had to say in response to this site's questionnaires. Which asked the candidates' stand on a number of precise issues of considerable concern to most of us. The editors have even stood back from the details and told us what they think of the candidates overall, and who they are planning to vote for — and very precisely why. One can agree or disagree with the editors' priorities and come to different conclusions, but the very fact that so much information has been collected here is invaluable.

    The great pity is, many of them probably don't know the site is here. Those of us who do, could do worse than spread the word. Many, *many* thanks to the editors for all their work!

  2. Well,I'm very impressed. I hope you too will consider running one day. I will work on your campaign. We (the public), need people like you in there. Derek McLean

  3. Great topic — thanks!

    Quite honestly, a lot of people tell me that the reason they don't get to the polls is that they don't think their vote really counts. What I hear is: "Even if I do vote, nothing will change."

    To those who would assert that, I challenge them to take the risk of testing those convictions.

    BE LIKE NIKE – JUST DO IT! RISK THAT "NOTHING WILL CHANGE". GO TO THE POLLS AND VOTE!

    Cheers, Lisa Graham
    Voice New Westminster trustee candidate

  4. I voted so I can complain. 🙂 (Well and be part of the democratic process that the women of this country fought so hard to get, I am a human, not property!).

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