Opinion: Your vote is worth more than you think

It’s shameful that our population, known here in Calgary for its wealth of opportunities and overall prosperity, has slipped into the downward slope of voter apathy.

With less than 30 per cent voter turnout over the past two municipal elections, your vote could be worth a lot more than you think it is. Mathematically, it’s worth about three times what it
would be if everyone voted, which as we all know, won’t happen.

And why is that? Students care so little about elections that the Parliament of Canada felt the need to issue several research studies to theorize about it. Their findings?

We’re stupid.

Basically, students don’t see how political campaigns affect them. Politicians don’t often specifically target students, firstly because they don’t vote, and are thus de-incentivizing the attention
they want. Secondly, because the majority of issues that affect students are, in fact, what affect people regardless of age and career.

Among several other theories, Parliament has discovered that we know shockingly little about the political process in Canada, let alone what goes on within our own city.

While there are many excuses, perhaps the blame lies within our ability to shrug our shoulders and walk away.

Youth and student voting turnout statistics are drastic. We’re 15 per cent lower than the next lowest age category, and account for almost half of the highest percentage of non-voters.

Having personally lived in several countries without the right or luxury of a democracy, I’m always baffled as to how people think municipal elections aren’t important.

Federal elections give laws and guns, provincial elections provie money and lifestyle, but municipal elections encompass everything you actually care about on a day-to-day basis.

If you drive to work grumbling about construction or are peeved at how expensive housing is, if you’re sick of downtown parking being ridiculously expensive, or that you’re an apprentice
without a U-pass, these are your people.

Better yet, they probably live down the street from you, so if you have an issue you can go talk to them about it.

A study done at the Western University of Ontario found that since the ‘70s, federal politicians have been bringing up municipal issues with increasing regularity. Apparently the stuff we’re
facing here is just as important to them, too.

If you vote, you will tangibly see the changes you want made. So vote. You have to, or you forfeit your right to groan, grumble, and be anything other than absolutely gleeful about everything
that goes on in your city. Which, if you don’t vote, isn’t yours to claim.

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