Friday, October 07, 2011

About That Voter Apathy. . .

If you've been reading this blog, then you know we just had an election in Ontario. But apparently, over 50% of the eligible voters did not know this. I'm sure this is going to cause many to throw up their arms and complain about people not exercising their rights. And I am not in total disagreement with the frustration that stems from the arm throwing. I believe voting is an amazing right we have in this country, and something that is currently being fought for in other countries. So, it is frustrating when citizens don't embrace that right and try to get their voices heard.

I think, the record low turnouts speak a lot more to something much deeper than people just not wanting to haul their asses over to the polling stations (though it isn't just farmers who don't vote). In Ontario, we've had 5 elections since 2007 -- which for the record was only 4 years ago. That amount of voting is going to lead to some burn out. I think that is what we're currently experiencing. People are tired of voting and not seeing any real change.

The purpose of voting is to get the constituents voices heard, and for us to shape the direction of our country, province or municipality. If people aren't seeing the changes they want, even after voting, then you're going to see some backlash. I think the lack of voting is the result of that backlash.

I also think it shows that people really didn't think there was an appealing option this time around. I heard countless people mention that all the candidates basically seemed the same. These people felt that it didn't really matter who was in power, because they weren't hopeful for any drastic changes.

If people don't see any differences between the candidates or don't notice any changes after the election, then they're going to become disillusioned and critical of the electoral process. They will likely respond by not bothering to vote. Last night's record lows point to a lot of people who just didn't feel there was value in voting.

I believe in elections. I believe it is crucial to exercise your right to vote. It is one of the major things we can partake in that allows this country to be democratic. But I also can understand the growing frustration and fatigue many voters are experiencing. But I hope those people don't completely opt out from the democratic process. If you didn't vote last night due to frustration or disillusionment, then I hope you still try to participate in democracy and try to implement the changes you feel are needed to be done. We have city councillors, MPPs and MPs for a reason, and it is their job to address your concerns. You have the right to create petitions or rally or get your voice heard. If you're tired and fed up with elections not changing anything, then it is time to find new avenues to get your voice heard.

When it is heard, then maybe finally a candidate you can believe in will emerge. Maybe many will start looking at candidates from outside the big three. The government will realize the people are tired and want change. They will eventually be forced to listen. They can't listen if we just stay silent and wait at home.

If you didn't vote then I won't chastise, but I will ask that you don't entirely give up on democracy.

2 comments:

  1. One of the other reasons that they were talking about on Global last night is that there wasn't really any issues in this campaign. The PC and NDP said we need to change because the Liberals were doing the terrible job, but didn't really explain what they'd do differently. The Liberals basically said "no, we're doing a good job - pick us for stability" but didn't really explain what that would mean. Sure they had some differing platform each, but especially the PC to me felt like they weren't actually offering anything. So I think a lot of people didn't vote because they didn't feel like there was actually anything to vote about.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally agree. The big frustration of this campaign was that we were given all these promises for great changes in health care or education, but nothing really concrete on how that was to be done. I felt Howarth was a little better at explaining herself, but NDP has a harder hill to climb when it comes to winning back voters in this province.

    ReplyDelete