Voting with confidence
Voting is a word you may have heard a lot of in the past few weeks…election, debate, and democracy are a few others. We’ve been bombarded by media promoting political parties, bashing opponents platforms, and urging us to “exercise our democratic right”. There have been opportunities to watch candidate debates and read news articles on the latest election updates. It’s all pretty overwhelming if you ask me. Despite the mass availability of information, it can still be incredibly difficult to learn about what you need to know before feeling ready to cast your vote in the June 12th provincial election.
Luckily for Mac students, the McMaster Students Union has launched MacVotes, a campaign that aims to make information about the election more readily available. The information includes details about the candidates in our riding (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale), the platforms of each party, election FAQs, and more. One thing that MacVotes also highlights is the overall declining voter turnout that has occurred over the past few provincial and federal elections, and the historically low turnout among people aged 18-24. As post-secondary students, we are a significant population that may have specific interests around policies on post-secondary education – so when decisions are being made in that regard, the impact of our vote is apparent. On that note, if you’re looking to find an analysis on how the big 3 parties have included post-secondary education in their platform, click here. However, it’s also important to note that our impact as voters extends beyond our interests as students.
There are many issues to consider and each party has different ways of approaching these issues. Before voting, it’s a good idea to become familiar with what each party stands for. Perhaps your values and opinions will align strongly with one of them – but perhaps they will not. What’s important to remember is that even if you don’t agree with any party, you still have the legal right to decline your ballot. Going to the polls and voting sends the message that you care about the results of the election – even if you don’t believe in any of the candidates. That is exactly what the “None of Them” campaign is promoting.
So how do you decide who to vote for? Here are a few methods I’ve come across:
1. Try out Vote Compass, an interactive questionnaire that demonstrates how much you agree with each party, based on your responses to questions on certain issues. At the end of the questionnaire, you are given the opportunity to compare your responses to the position of each party and learn about the party’s rationale.
2. Check out the candidate websites (a list of platform sites for the parties represented in our riding can be found here.)
3. Take a look at this simple and interactive list of campaign positions from the Toronto Star.
4. Watch the election debate.
Once you figure out who you want to vote for, it can be another challenge to discover how to actually vote. A great way to get more information in that regard is by going to wemakevotingeasy.ca. There, you can determine whether or not you’re eligible to vote, where you should go to vote, what you need to bring with you, and more.
With the abundance of information available, we have access to what we need to make an informed vote…but that doesn’t make it easy to navigate! So take some time to look through some of the options, and don’t be afraid to form an opinion. Every person deserves to have their opinion taken into account.