By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
It may be the 41st Provincial General Election today where each Ontario resident has the opportunity to exercise his/her right to vote today, June 12—but that doesn’t mean we’ve necessarily been afforded an easy or clear choice.
I went to the polls early this morning after I dropped off my children at school and found myself anxious when faced with the ballot not because I’ve never voted before, but because I was still very much undecided about who to vote for.
I did my research, assessing each point and comparing every issue across political platforms. I even went so far as to rate and tally those issues I not only agreed with, but prioritized. In the end, I was surprised to see which party I actually leaned towards in issues I hoped would be addressed should that particular party come to power.
Still, when faced with the ballot today, I hesitated. I scanned the candidates’ names, those who I was already familiar with, those I had watched on television during electoral debates.
My difficulty remained between choosing the party with the most political issues in its platform that I agreed with and prioritized—yet not entirely trusting the party itself to ensure its promises would actually be delivered.
Or choosing the party with whom I have trusted in the past due to its choices based on integrity and character, and shared, fundamental beliefs—but disliking its political priorities as outlined in its platform.
What I was expecting and hoping for was an alternative on the ballot—an opportunity to “decline my vote,” rather than avoid the polls entirely, in order to send the message to the provincial government that I’m unhappy with the current political choices afforded me at this time—but when I went to the polling station and received my ballot, an opportunity to “decline my vote” was not available.
And while I did my duty as a voting citizen of Ontario today, I have to admit that once I dropped my ballot into the ballot box, I was neither entirely pleased with the choices given me, nor confident in the result of my choice.
I walked away from the polling station with disappointment and a political apathy that I haven’t experienced in this country before.
But, rather than complain about the potential irrelevance of politics and the power it can often times abuse, I thought it more important to vote anyway. At least vote in such a way that I’m well-informed about platform points and my choices.
Perhaps you’ve attested to loyalty towards a particular party because you have always considered yourself part of this party’s camp. Perhaps you’re indifferent to politics, unaware of the true power of your right to vote. Perhaps you’ve been in this country for a number of years and with the number of disappointments and scandals, which have revealed themselves from poor judgement all the way to political corruption, you’ve decided you’ve given up with the political process altogether and you’re simply apathetic. Perhaps you just need a little nudge and reminder to vote.
Regardless of your political viewpoint, it’s best to vote well-informed.
To see a great comparison list between political platforms, please visit the CBC webpage for more details.
And then go out there and vote—your vote still counts towards the end result.
Be sure to bring your election card and photo I.D. to your closest polling station.
Have you voted today for the Provincial Ontario Election?
Do you know the candidates in your riding and who you will be voting for?
Do you believe a ballot that includes an opportunity for voters to “decline” their vote is necessary and/or useful? Why or why not?