Will we buck the trend in 2017?
Every new election, whether municipal, federal or provincial we always hope the answer to that question, when it comes to voter turnout, is yes, but we’re usually disappointed.
In the last provincial election in 2013 barely more than half of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to Elections BC.
A turnout of 55.32 per cent may not be a record low, but it’s hardly something to celebrate either.
Looking at the demographics of who gets out to vote is also concerning.
Young people aren’t voting.
A paltry 47.9 per cent of those 18 to 24 years old voted, and it was even worse for those 25 to 34 years old, with only 39.8 per cent hitting the polls.
The biggest category of voters were 65 to 74 years old, at 74.2 per cent.
Even there the numbers are a little depressing.
Out of everyone you would think that young people would want to vote. After all, voting is about having a say in what happens now and what happens next.
There’s nothing cool or admirable about apathy.
This is about whether or not you’re going to be able to get a job. It’s about what our coastline, our forests, our farms and our fresh water is going to look like. It’s about whether there will be a new hospital or new school in your area. In short, it’s about your whole life.
As recently as 1983 a full 70 per cent of eligible voters cast their ballots. What’s wrong with us today? There are plenty of choices to vote for. Chances are, if you don’t like the mainstream political parties, you can find an independent candidate in your riding. That’s certainly true for the Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo-North Cowichan ridings.
It takes very little time and effort to vote. Advance voting days offer the opportunity to do it early if you can’t make it for some reason on May 9, general voting day. You can vote by mail. And on voting day the lines are generally short and the wait minimal if any.
Millions of people around the world would give anything to have this chance to far too many of us merely squander.
Seeing the numbers after every election day is almost enough to make one despair.
We can’t give up though. It’s too important. This is our future we’re talking about.