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The importance of voting in American, Canadian and Vancouver elections October 2, 2008

Posted by Raul in Focus on Vancouver, politics, Politics 2.0, public policy issues, random thoughts.
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One of the areas where my mother does research is in electoral studies (however, she studies elections in Mexico more than anything, although lately she’s been interested in Canadian elections). She was mentioning how important it was to galvanize people and make them want to go and vote.

It’s true that many, many people refuse to vote because they don’t think that their vote is going to count. I was reading some statistics on how many people have voted in recent Canadian elections and I recall a figure hovering around 64% or so (of the whole electorate).

The most recent election for President was the most contested in Mexican history and I can assure you that one of the reasons for that was precisely that a lot of the people who many people thought wouldn’t vote did indeed cast a ballot.

Even though I’m not American, I’m pretty darn sure I have American readers (and of course, Canadian) so I’d strongly encourage you to register to vote. Hat tips to Steve Jagger who tweeted this video (source: YouTube) where lots of US movie stars encourage viewers to vote.



1. JN - October 2, 2008

I’ve got my absentee ballot and am ready to vote. Glad to do so for one of the so-called swing states this time.

2. Jess - October 2, 2008

CTV had a story on last night where they referenced polls that predict young voter turnout will be lower this election than last. When they asked people on the street some of the comments where just ridiculus. “I don’t have time to care” said one young woman. It’s disappointing to see that political parties in Canada, ones that should be rallying the young vote, are doing little to nothing to engage them on their turf. (social networks, events etc.)

Obama has an iPhone app, shouldn’t some of our parties be looking at innovative ways to reach young influencers?

Come on young people, we’re inheriting this world and it would be nice if it is totally FUBARed by the time we start to care.

3. Beth - October 2, 2008

What do you think of the Australian system where (I believe I have this right) it’s against the law not to vote? Like, if you don’t vote, you get fined. My concern with that system is you’ll end up with a lot of uninformed voters… of course, there’s nothing to guarantee that those who willingly choose to vote are informed either…

4. James - October 3, 2008

Great post. A couple things to say to any non-voters:

1) it is ridiculously easy to get to vote. Even if you’ve never registered or gotten the voter card in the mail, show up to the polling station near your residence with some ID (Drivers license, something that has your address on it like a phone bill) and you are good. The people there will really do a great job to help you out to use your right to vote. It’s why they volunteer!

2) Voting does get addictive – in a good way. I personally get a small thrill when I cast my ballot, having my say in whatever election. To say your vote doesn’t matter is just not true. Your candidate may not win, but then that’s part of democracy, isn’t it?

5. The American Presidential election 2008 - A historic day, November 4, 2008 « Random Thoughts of a Student of the Environment - November 4, 2008

[…] in the lives of Canadians. Regardless of whether you’re American or Canadian, I do hope that you’ll be voting or have voted in the upcoming elections (American President Nov 4th and Vancouver municipal election Nov […]

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