Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vote on the Referendum!

This Ontario election may not be firing up the imagination of the voters, but it has one very important feature to it: a referendum. And it's not just any referendum, but one that can fundamentally change the way we vote in our provincial representatives, one that can lead to Ontarians feeling empowered again and choosing to vote instead of sitting home and saying who cares in future elections.

I've heard several people saying they won't vote because it won't make a difference or politicians are all crooks or all liars. (Let me just pause here and counter the "all liars" assumption -- it's the Liberals who brought lying back into Ontario politics after many years of politicians not lying. So no, they're not all liars, just the Liberals, and given how the Federal bunch behaved with the sponsorship scandal, is it any wonder Liberals have lying down to an art and smooth-talk people into thinking all politicians are like them, when they're not?!) Even I sometimes feel that it's useless for me to vote because I know which way my riding will go, so why bother as my one vote won't make any difference at all. Yet Outremont's by-election results prove that even the safest riding can suddenly change and that one vote bucking the trend can join other votes bucking the trend and end up making a difference and that in the end we never really know.

The referendum will address the malaise that afflicts voters currently, the one that brainwashes us into thinking that our votes don't matter, don't make a difference, are useless in fact. This referendum will allow our votes to change the face of the Legislature such that it properly represents us. I will in later posts address the pros and cons of the suggested change to our electoral system that we are to vote on, but for now, I want to say VOTE.

Unlike an election, with a referendum every single vote counts. One vote can put the results over the threshold of 60 percent and pass the motion. Or one vote can prevent the threshold from being met and keep things the way they are. Whichever way you feel is best, your vote will count!

But you still don't want to haul your butt over to the far-away polling station just to check off a box on a referendum form? Well, I have the solution for you. Advance voting.

I don't know where my polling station is for this election, but for the last few elections, they've moved it so far away from my place that I have to get a ride to vote, and that's not always possible on the day. So I've taken to advance voting. It's a good solution too for voting on just the referendum. You can go to the advance poll at a date and time convenient to you, check yes on the referendum box (or no, if you must), then register a non-vote for the election part of the procedure. Your registration of a non-vote tells the parties and the candidates that you think they're all louses and not worth voting for, but you showing up to vote on the referendum tells them you think how we elect people is an important enough issue to get your ass in gear and get to the polling station or advance poll. So look into this referendum thing and then go vote!

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