So, British Columbians: tomorrow’s the provincial elections. And if you’re of age, you should go vote.
- Because this election determines the next government, which will make decisions on your taxes, spending on social programs, and determine what our provincial environmental position is.
- Because you don’t want to be that one person always complaining about the government only to reveal that you didn’t actually vote.
- Because it’s a privilege that not everyone in this world is afforded, and the fact that you’re able to is something you should probably appreciate. (I am aware that this makes me sound like your mom telling you to eat your vegetables because kids somewhere are starving. I do not particularly care.)
- Because it’s about time those horrific voter turnout numbers started climbing back up. (Okay, this point’s a bit meta, but still.)
- If nothing else, because of the sheer sarcastic snark that Elections BC put into this cycle’s ads. To quote a sign at the bus stop, “It’s only the basis of a free and democratic society. But hey, you probably have spin class.”
But I can’t because…
- I’m not registered! If you’re a Canadian citizen and have lived in BC for the last 6 months, you can bring your ID to the voting station with you and get registered then and there.
- I can’t get time off work! You are legally allowed to take up to four hours of consecutive leave on voting day to vote; this includes at the beginning or end of a shift or. If you are working hours (like a night shift) that mean you’ll be able to vote anyway, then this obviously does not apply. If your employers tries to penalize you for this, contact Elections BC; they will call or fax them and ream them out passive-aggressively.
- I don’t have ID that I can bring with me to vote! You may bring someone with you to vouch for you identity. This includes people registered to vote in the same electoral district as you, an immediate family member, or someone who has the authority to make personal care decisions for you.
- I need assistance to vote! That’s okay too! If you have difficulty reading, writing, or marking a ballot, you can have a friend or Voting Officer assist you. If you do not speak English well enough to vote, you may use a translator.
- I don’t know where to vote! If you are a registered voter, Elections BC should have sent you a voting card telling you where to vote. If you are not yet registered or did not receive a card, you can find information about where (and when) to vote here: http://www3.elections.bc.ca/ge2013/#whereAndWhenToVote
- I don’t know what electoral district I’m in! Elections BC helps you find that out here: http://188.8.131.52/voter/edfinder.htm
- I don’t know who my candidates are! A general list of candidates by electoral district is here: http://elections.bc.ca/docs/CSA_List%20Candidates%20by%20ED%20by%20Event.PDF.
- I don’t know what the party platforms are! Links to the websites of many parties and general information can be found here, on CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/bcvotes2013/story/2013/03/06/bc-election-voter-toolkit.html. Unfortunately, if you want to know about the independents or small-party candidates in your riding, you’re gonna need to do some googling.
It’s not my place to tell you who to vote for, but I hope I can give at least a few people the tools they need to vote this election.