Not voting is not OK

The weekly editorial for the 100 Mile Free Press

Only 611 of the 1,365 people eligible to vote in the 2018 100 Mile House and District municipal election did so, just under 45 per cent.

The number of voters who exercised their right to vote was higher than in 2014 (580), and the growth in the number of voters in the 100 Mile area is a good thing, but 45 per cent is not a good look, especially when considering there are a number of people living outside the village’s limits who are willing to vote but can’t.

However, 100 Mile House is not the only community that failed to crack 50 per cent in voter turnout this year.

The City of Vancouver reported that only 39.43 per cent of its eligible voters cast a vote. New Westminister was even lower, at 29.97 per cent.

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Voting is a fundamental right and moral obligation, and people shouldn’t be deterred from voting because they think their vote won’t count, or that it won’t change a thing. Elected officials have the power to make decisions that are either good or poor for an individual in their respective riding, which is why individuals should vote for their own best interests.

There are many countries in the world that prevent or try to deter its citizens from participating in the democratic electoral process.

Brian Kemp, the Secretary of State for Georgia, for example, is being sued by a civil rights group for allegedly suppressing the registration of 53,000 voters before the upcoming U.S. gubernatorial election in 2018. Of course, Kemp denies this.

Most of the registration applications were filed by minorities.

READ ALSO: PR follow up

Canada is no stranger to voter suppression scandal either.

We were hit with Robogate in 2011, when robocalls and real-person calls were reported to be telling potential voters that polling station locations had changed.

These calls were investigated by Elections Canada and the RCMP. In April 2014 Yves Côté, Commissioner of Canada Elections, concluded there was not sufficient evidence to believe the offence was committed. However, in August of the same year Michael Sona, a young Conservative staffer based in Guelph, Ont., was charged and convicted with willfully preventing or endeavouring to prevent an elector from voting in an election, a violation under the Canada Elections Act.


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