Friday, October 12, 2007

Vote Early, Vote Often

Monday is Civic Election Day in Alberta. All across the province mayors and councils and school boards are facing the electoral music.
Or not.
A good lot of seats are filled by acclamation. It’s too bad as a good race is important for a healthy democracy, but at least the seat is filled.

What galls me no end is people who don’t vote.

You have a right and an obligation to vote. Please don’t give me any song and dance about it being a right in a democracy to not vote. I’ll concede you are correct as you are allowed to not vote in this country. However, you are misguided.

Do not ever try to tell me you have chosen to not vote as a gesture of protest. It is not.

If we were legally obligated to vote, such as in Australia, then choosing not to vote would be an act of protest. You would be breaking the law to make a point and you would have a public forum to challenge the State.

Here in Canada not voting is not a gesture of protest, it’s a gesture of apathy.

If you have any silly notions about complaining about elected officials, then you’d better have exercised your right at the ballot box. If you don’t care to vote, then I don’t care to listen.

I say you’ve abrogated your right to complain.

There are exceptions, such as those can’t cast a ballot by reason of age or citizenship. If they care enough to complain now, then there’s a good chance they’ll get out and vote when they can.

The polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Get out to a polling station. If you can’t vote for the best candidate, then hold your nose and vote for the ones who’ll make the least mess.

Then you can complain all you want.


Reb said...

Unfortunately here in Edmonton, we have a very sad lot of contenders this year. In spite of that, I will be voting, like always, for the least offensive of the bunch. I have it narrowed down to three so far - need more info on them though.

Very good post Leah.

Leah J. Utas said...

Thanks, Reb. Sometimes the least offensive is the best we can hope for.

Michael said...

I live in the US, but there's a lot that here too. My cousin stubbornly refuses to vote, and argues that you lose you're right to complain if you do! That makes no sense to me at all.

Leah J. Utas said...

Michael - your cousin certainly has an unique perspective.

Penelope said...

I would totally vote, except I'm a cat and according to Karen, cats are not allowed to vote in the United States (bastard Americans-- so superior).

A good voter turn out in the states is fifty percent. So most of the time less than half of the population takes time out of their busy day to do their civic duty.

So exactly how long were we expecting democracy to work anyhow . . .

-- P

the Bag Lady said...

Great post, Leah. We cannot expect to have a voice if we don't exercise our right to vote...

Terrie Farley Moran said...


This is an excellent post.

Voting is a privilege. It is the tiniest price to pay for the privilege of living in a free society. I can barely behave civilly when people tell me that they "didn't bother to vote." I want to smack them.

Even choosing among Reb's "sad lot of contenders" is better than being prevented by the government from participating in the choice.

When you don't vote, you let prefect (and not so perfect) strangers make the decisions you should be making.

Thanks for stirring the pot, Leah.


Dawn said...

Must be something in the air - New Zealand is having local body elections too at this time. I totally agree that voting is a privilege and in true democratic spirit "make" my other half vote whether he feels like it or not!

Leah J. Utas said...

The world would be a better place if cats could vote, Penelope.

Absolutely right, Bag Lady.

Thanks, Terrie. People who don't vote get my blood up.

Good for you, Dawn, in ensuring your husband votes.

I appreciate all the comments, everyone. This subject is near and dear to me and I expect to post something similar many times.

Virginia Lee said...

A neighbor of mine and I are starting a campaign to get our complex made into a polling station in time for the presidential election next year. Hopefully we can do it because many of the folks here don't vote because they don't have transportation or they don't know how to arrange to do an absentee ballot.

And YAY for posting this, Leah. We must be in sync for I did a post about politics yesterday as well. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for you, Virginia! You strike me as someone who sees a problem and gets something done about it.

Lack of transportation is a big issue. Good for you for working toward the solution.