Do I Really Have to Vote?

Since the Canadian federal election is coming up, you might be thinking, do I really have to vote?  Amongst young adults, there tends to be a lot of negativity associated with voting, causing many to forgo the process.  This article will talk about the importance of voting worldwide, through the lens of the Canadian election. As a political science student, I could take the political approach to answer this question, but I want to show that voting doesn’t HAVE to be political.  I am going to try to show that voting doesn’t have to be something scary or negative and that it is in fact beneficial for oneself. 

 Before writing this article, I asked some friends whether they were going to vote in the upcoming election, just to get a sense of what my peers think.  The consensus was that they know it’s important and that they should vote, but also felt that they don’t know enough about politics to participate.  Now, I’ve heard this said quite a lot, the idea that since one doesn’t know anything about politics, they won’t vote. I totally understand that politics is intimidating and half of the time, it doesn’t make any sense.  However, what has really helped me to understand a party’s platforms is to take a quick look at their website where all the information is clear. It’s important to remember that party’s know that not everyone has a political background and as such, they do their best to make their platforms understandable and accessible to everyone.  If you don’t want to read the party’s platforms, you can also listen to the debates that go on before the elections to help you understand what the parties stand for.

Young adults tend to not vote for numerous reasons, but this can have an extreme impact on students.  Typically, young adults are more prone to vote liberal while the older generation tends to vote conservative.  If you look at what the conservative party stands for, the conservative party tends to benefit the rich population and typically do not support climate change. It may even go so far as to not support the LGBTQ community.  This is not to say that there is an issue with supporting the conservative party, but since it has been shown that young adults tend to be more liberal, the policies that the conservative party stands for might not benefit the younger population.  Take a look at Doug Ford; he has made extreme changes that leave students at a disadvantage. For example, financial aid for students and the system by which it is distributed has been significantly changed. Grants and loans have been eradicated or substantially decreased in value, making it harder for many students to pay their tuition fees.

 Another example of a more conservative government can be found in the United States, as in the 2016 election, Donald Trump won presidency.  Trump’s win can be attributed to the lack of young people who voted. Voting can be difficult when there is not a candidate who you like, but not voting has worse consequences.  It can be easy to say that “one vote won’t make a difference”, but when 50% of the population of young adults makes that same decision, the outcome is drastic. The outcome of an election can effect anything from the amount of tax paid, to healthcare coverage and abortion rights.  In Canada, if you go to a school that is away from home, universities offer voting on campus to make it easier and more accessible. Whether you vote Conservative, Liberal, NDP or the Green Party, get out there and vote!