Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How to Vote in 10 Minutes or Less

Every time an election is called I hear people talking about not voting and I get a little rant-y. This year I'm going on the offensive and saying it early: YOU HAVE TO VOTE.  Don't let yourself play the "it's too complicated" or "I don't really understand the issues" or "politics is hard" card. You live in a democracy. If you like hospitals and roads and not getting shot at, then you need to vote. It's pretty simple.

Refuse to be disillusioned. There are no perfect politicians just like there are no perfect dentists or project managers or cupcake bakers. Politicians are people and just like you and me they are flawed. Refusing to vote because "everyone is corrupt" or "all politicians lie" is basically saying that you're waiting until you can vote for the Easter bunny. You're a grown-up now.  Vote.

So now that you've decided to vote, choosing WHO to vote for doesn't have to be that complicated.  In a perfect world we'd all be totally informed and up to date on all the issues at all times. But for everyone who isn't a political junkie trying to figure out an entire governmental system in the weeks - ok let's be honest, the days - before an election is a daunting task.  Instead of getting overwhelmed and "forgetting" to vote, here are four easy ways to choose a candidate in 10 minutes or less.  The internet-savvy among us can probably do it in five.

How to vote in 10 minutes or less:

1. Join the party.  Take a quick online assessment to find out which political party best lines up with your own political beliefs.  Vote for the candidate in that party.  I like this one. (fixed the link)

2.  If you can't think big, think small. Research your local reps and vote for the person who's in charge of your own back yard.

(2. Alternate) Think even smaller. Choose the one issue you care the most about and   do a quick Google search to see where the local candidates stand on that issue. Vote accordingly.

3. Borrow someone else's vote.  Go to someone who's opinion you trust and ask them who they are voting for and why. Add your voice and your vote to theirs.

4. Close your eyes and point. If all else fails, show up on election day and randomly select a candidate. Voting for the wrong person is still better than not voting at all.  At least you showed up. You participated.  Next time, try options 1 through 3.

Above all, remember that in a democracy not voting is not an option. It's like being the roommate who never ever ever does their dishes, the parent who refuses to change a diaper, the freeloading friend who never grabs the check. You don't want to be that guy.  If you truly cannot with good conscience vote for any of the candidates then spoiling your vote is a valid option, but only if you show up at the voting booth and do it officially.  

We're Canadians, we show up when things are hard, we pitch in where there's a mess.  Voting is a privilege that was hard won on the backs of someone else's loved ones.  Voting is how we begin to say thank you for that. Don't let the chance pass you by. See you at the booth! (We can go for Tim's after.)

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