By “vote” we mean show up at a voting station and vote for a candidate, or cast a blank ballot or mark your ballot however you want to mark it, or decline your ballot (only voters in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario provincial elections have the legal right to decline their ballot).
1. If you don’t vote, you don’t count
Politicians get their jobs because people vote for them, and they lose their jobs because people vote against them. Of course politicians care somewhat about people who vote against them, and often they claim to care about everyone whether they vote or not. Really though, they usually do what voters want, and don’t pay much attention to what non-voters want. Politicians may make you upset or angry or turn you off for many reasons. But if you want to push politicians to change in any way then showing up to vote (in whatever way) is better than not showing up because politicians have to pay attention to voters. Remember, people from each political party look at the ballots of every voter (and in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario voters have the right to decline their ballot (in other words, to vote “none of the above”)).
2. Politicians have the power to change your life in many, many ways
What concerns or upsets you, or makes you happy? What problems do you want solved? No matter what, at any time, politicians can do something that will concern or upset you even more, or make you happier, or solve a problem you want solved, or cause another problem. Politicians make decisions that can change the cost of everything you pay for, and can affect whether the air you breathe and water you drink is clean or dirty, what kind of car you can buy, what kind of clothes you can buy, what you are allowed to eat and drink, and many other things in your life. About the only decision you can make that can change the life of a politician is whether you vote for them, or not.
3. You never know when your vote may count
In the 2011 federal election, 9 politicians won by less than 500 votes (including 2 by less than 100 votes), and another 19 candidates won by between 500-1,000 votes. Many politicians have also won elections in all provinces and cities and towns across Canada by a very small number of votes. In each of those elections, hundreds or thousands of people didn’t vote, and if they had a different politician would be in power now.
4. If you don’t vote, you don’t have a right to complain about government
You may be thinking, that’s not fair to say. But if don’t turn up at the voting station and vote for a candidate, or cast a blank ballot, or mark your ballot however you want, or refuse your ballot (which is only allowed in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario provincial elections), aren’t you really saying you don’t care about which politicians or political party has the power to make decisions about your life. And if you don’t care, do you really have a right to complain about what those politicians or the party in power does?