Why Do We Vote?

In a democracy there are almost as many reasons to vote as their are voters. Some vote out a sense of civic obligation, others vote so they can still feel entitled to complain about the results. For some one issue not only dictates why they vote but how they vote. Others still will vote out of spite, frustration, or fear and so will vote against a candidate or an idea as opposed to voting for the same.  I may disagree with them but even those who decline or spoil their ballot have reasons as well. They have found their choices wanting, and “voted” accordingly.

To me, we vote as a way of answering a question. In an ideal world campaigns would be a conversation between politicians and voters. A discussion about what sort of a society we want to live in. To an extent they are, but the bulk of that conversation is one sided. Only on election day do the governed have a chance to answer back.

We have heard a great deal from the leaders of Ontario’s political parties over the last few weeks. Today is their turn to listen to us. If you don’t believe that’s true wait and see. When the votes are counted a winner will be declared, and by default two losers. If at least one of those two doesn’t lose their job as leader it will be surprising. If both do it won’t be. The parties will have heard you speak, and responded to the voters’ dismissal with one of their own.

I have been pretty clear about which party I support in this election, and yesterday even wrote my reasons why. If you agree with me great, if not that’s of course fine too. Either way I would implore you to vote today. Not only is it your right to, it is one many don’t have. Peaceful, civil elections that we take for granted here are the exception in places around the world. Our elections end with talking heads on the TV, in too many places they end with firing guns in the street.

Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasions, while “elections” were also held in Syria. Considered together these serve as a stark reminder that too many good men and women died protecting us from the sort of dictatorships still prevalent today. For many having the right to vote is reason enough to.

There’s an expression I like, “decisions are made by those who show up”. We concede decisions to those we elect for most of the time they serve in government. Not today, today the decision is ours. With clear contrasting campaigns today we decide what we value as a society or what we don’t. Whatever your reasons, and whatever your beliefs please make that decision today. Be one of those who shows up, vote.





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