An open letter from one of those “hippies” who never considered voting…
You promised us this… all we ask is you stick to your promises and have us all considered.
- Lower Tax for the middle class, higher tax for the rich.
- Lower prices on prescription medications
- Higher student grants
- Legalizing Marijuana
- Investing money on clean energy
The “but you didn’t vote” ripple effect.
The fact I didn’t vote, ruined my ability to ever have credibility in group debates. It made my opinion less valid. It was hard for me to realize why that was a truth, but I still stand by my position at the time. I have set off to change that.
How can you you have an opinion if you don’t have the facts
So this election came along and this year I decided I wanted to have the chance to enter the conversation. I resolved to be well educated, or at least have some good bullet points on all the parties. This way they can’t just say “you didn’t vote so your opinion doesn’t matter”. I would have a voice!
So here I’ve been for the last 2 months doing my research and getting to know my potential new “Rulers” and the various values of the different parties. This year I WOULD make an educated vote just to shut those people who used to block me out of the debate. I could say, “Here! I made an educated vote this year, but i’m still unhappy with all of this”.
Why should I have to do this?! Why should I have to do the research and take the time out of my day to vote for which party will harm me the least? I understand the privilege that voting is, and that many people don’t have the opportunity to vote, but I still see a corrupt system of parties that are all just about the exact same. We’re better off than many places, but that doesn’t make it alright. Take the new “Fair Elections Act” for example, which had the potential to disenfranchise thousands of voters.
I’m no expert, but I want my voice heard. I’m just one “hippie” girl, and this is my opinion.
Oct.19th I made a conscious decision to go against my ego, against my past beliefs, and get up and go vote. This was my time to join the conversation!
To be completely honest, I kept saying this year I want to vote, but deep down I really wasn’t sure I wanted to because I was still uncertain of who I was about to vote for. I finally had come to terms with that idea the night before the official election day.This uncertainty ended up putting me into a bit of a pickle when I was told I wasn’t prepared to vote.
Don’t Push My Buttons
With all of my research on the various parties, but what I had neglected to do is read about how to participate in the elections themselves. Technically for me to be able to vote I would of had come to terms with my decisions the Tuesday before the day of election and vote by “proxy”. (Soo.. Before or on October 13th.).
Here I was ready to vote for our “Federal” election, a NATIONAL poll, and I was unable to check my ballot box. Sure call it poor planning on my part prior to the vote, but can I just mention this… I actually tried this year. How is this something I didn’t know about? Heck I even called the candidate I was going to vote for, personally, as per recommended by a friend, and even he couldn’t help me, though he did appreciate my dedication and support. There needs to be a better way to educate the public in how to vote. For people who live a lifestyle like I do, in which a permanent residence is not necessarily part of our lives. Also that same kind of lifestyle is the type that brings about a kind of aloof-ness to the whole “voting” thing. We need to figure out a way to engage EVERYONE. Wearing my “don’t push my buttons” embroidered shirt, my shirt foreshadowed my voting future... maybe deep down I was hoping it would be a message to the world. Well the Canadian 2015 Election has officially pushed my buttons..
According to the official polls, my vote is silent, it doesn’t exist. This equally frustrates me and disappoints me to the point of writing this, with the knowledge that I CAN’T be the only one in this situation. I hope this can serve as your voice, our voice. The way canadians vote needs to change.
I want my voice to be heard… right now.
This is my vote, and I’m asking you to help me cast it. This video is my only way to be heard and to pass my message.
I VOTE FOR…. A NEW ELECTORAL SYSTEM.
I dream of a world where everyone's opinion matters. Why can’t we come up with a system that accommodates this? If people aren’t voting, ask ourselves why. Let them be a voice and let them explain why they haven’t voted, make an honest effort to engage them. Fix the problem! How am I voting for a representative of a certain district but actually voting for a national leader? Why can’t I vote for the values of the party I want and then vote for a local representative who seems fit to represent those values separately? In my situation, I 100% stand behind a certain representative and her/his personal values, as a human being she has my vote, but her party doesn’t… that to me isn’t right. How is that right?
I’m not mad at the parties, I’m not mad at the new electoral act implemented by Mr. Harper. I’m not mad at the people working at the polling stations. I’m upset with the system we have in place and I truly believe it is time for change.
So for all of you out there listening, that haven’t gotten a chance to be heard cause you’re in the same situation as I am or you haven’t gotten the chance to make an educated vote this part is for you; i’ll save you a little frustration for the next election (in the case it doesn’t change by then) so that you can focus on only researching who you want to make your vote for.
So What Did I Learn This Time?
Being a millennial with a frustration, I naturally took my problem online, to Facebook. Amongst all the angry responses with no basis in reality, I learned a few things!
- There are many more policies and rules to the voting process than you might think. Stay informed and make sure you know what is required to make your vote count.
- There is a lawyer in Toronto who is taking on anyone that was refused at the polls for FREE.
- Someone who lived at your address with you, and is registered to vote with ID can swear an oath and vouch that you live at the address you say you do. This works very well..unless the people you live with are just as transient as you are.
- You need to have a current address and be at the pole closest to that address ( yeah I’m one of those humans that has a permanent address at her parents place but travels all the time and lives life on the road. I don’t sign leases because I honestly don’t know where i’ll be week by week, sometimes month to month.. either way it shouldn’t be this hard… right?)
- You can vote by proxy, but this also requires a more or less stable address, and doesn’t necessarily work for people who are constantly travelling, either for work or because of the nature of their lifestyle.
- “Special Ballot” … the ballot you need to register for before the Tuesday prior to the election day. This process is not easy, and I was not made aware of it in time.
- Call the office of the party you were going to vote for in your riding!! They will help you. (Well let me tell you I actually directly called the rep and asked him his input.. He thanked me for my support and said that there is actually nothing that can be done in my situation at this point in the race.)
- If you have ANY identification with your name and any piece with your address you can vote at the polling station associated with that address. Again, this is only helpful if you’re not constantly moving around, like I am.
- If your info is not local then you can supplement and register at a local polling station using an online bill or other document showing a local address. Another great solution, except that people with my lifestyle don’t tend to have many utilities in their name. I live on the road, from commune to commune and couch to couch. It’s so hard to have a voice as a “hippie” or as I’d like to say someone who is a little unorthodox.
… SAY WHAT!? such a grey space here. Why is this so complicated, i’m trying to vote federally within my federation? How can I not vote…
If it were easier to vote.. people would vote.
Other fun relevant links:
Another Open Letter