It’s often been said that those who don’t vote don’t deserve to complain about the results.
But as we contemplate this Monday’s federal byelection in South Surrey-White Rock, it’s worth remembering that those who don’t vote are also sending a signal, even though it may not be the one they think they’re sending.
There are reasons, to be sure, that may prevent us from voting. Circumstances, emergencies, sudden changes in plan and transportation logistics may interfere.
Some may believe that their vote won’t make a difference – that it’s a foregone conclusion the riding will stay true to deeply entrenched Conservative roots yet again.
Others may believe that a shift in voting patterns evident in the last election two years ago – plus a well-known candidate with a highly placed supporter – will ensure a history-making switch to Liberal.
But there are other candidates, who – even though their chances to win the popular vote may be slimmer – may deserve votes just as much, if we are convinced their commitment is clear and they have valid points to make about the future of this community.
It’s also worth remembering just how close the last election was. Even with a Conservative candidate as identifiable as Dianne Watts, Judy Higginbotham was only some 1,400 votes away from wrapping the riding up for the Liberals.
By voting – even if your candidate doesn’t win – you are helping to provide data about shifts in the local political climate, which may lead to changes in strategy, and policy, in the long run.
By not exercising the right to vote, you do only one thing – provide a tacit endorsement for whoever turns out to be the winner.
If you’re that apathetic about our community, evidently you’ll also be just fine with whatever takes place during the next two years.
But if you do care about your community, there is only one way you can be sure that you are counted.
And that’s to make the effort, put up with the inconvenience, and get out to the polls.