Why do we vote?

While thinking about why people should vote for me I began thinking about why I have voted in the past.  There have been times where I had to motivate myself to go to the polls.

For example, if you don’t live in a municipality and cannot vote for a mayor or councilor, then you can vote for a candidate for a Regional Health Authority or a District Education Council. What if you don’t know those people?  Or if there is no one offering for one of those positions, what will motivate you to go out for that one candidate?

I grew up in a family environment where voting was always a responsibility. The first year I went to university my grandfather made sure that I intended to vote, knew where to go, etc.  Of course he also made sure to ask me if I knew who to vote for as there was not really a choice in his mind.  At that age I felt as if your identity was based on the party you voted for where in later years I understood that the party or candidate needed to reflect my values.  I also voted because it made me feel a part of a group I wanted to be part of, the adult world. Grownups voted  hence, I vote I must be a grown up also.

Sometimes voting can seem pointless. We may want to vote for a candidate that we do not anticipate will win. (There is always hope). Voting for me is more than my “civic” duty to vote. I vote because I believe it makes a difference, even if my vote is lost.  Even losing votes can say a lot and make a difference.  If a party or candidate loses in a close vote, perhaps the winning party/candidate may take a closer look at why so many people voted for their opponent.  People often vote when issues are personal to them or they have strong opinions, at least that has moved me to polls in the past.

Sometimes it is inconvenient to go to the polls to vote. It can be time consuming in our busy lives, weather may be bad, and there can be lines, which in the current environment can be intimidating.  Luckily now we can vote by mail if we wish.

If I have made the effort to find out about a candidate and fulfilled my obligations to vote, I feel entitled to voice my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, everybody is entitled to an opinion but along with rights come responsibilities and for me personally, these two things go hand in hand.  Maybe we vote due to the social expectations of those we know. Perhaps we like to support someone that think can produce concrete results or best represent our needs or values.  There are many reasons why we don’t bother to vote but lots of reasons why we should.

Regardless of your reasons, or who you vote for, just decide to vote.

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