15. I’m not Voting in the Election.

19 Oct

I’m not sure about the rest of your Facebook feeds, but over the past few weeks mine has seen a huge increase in the number of posts relating to the upcoming Canadian federal election. While a lot of these posts have been of the Harper-must-go-variety, many have revolved around the act of voting, but with a serious bent on getting Harper out (does anyone here recall how the anyone-but-Bush campaign turned out for the Democratic Party in 2004? And Canada has four parties on the left to split the vote).

I’m not sure if it’s a result of the perfect storm of nine years of Harper Rule and social media finally having permeated every aspect of our existence, but I feel my non-voting in this election requires some sort of explanation – the rest of you seem to be putting a lot of Facebook energy into this whole thing; the least I can do is let you know what’s going on upstairs at Jason’s place.

I’ll start by saying that if I were back in Ottawa I would totally go vote on Ballot Day. The polling station is super close to my house and I like flirting with the ladies working the registration tables.

“Hi Cynthia, has it been *four* years already? That’s way too long! When you’re doing you tabulation, see if you can make it minority government – they rarely last longer than eighteen months.”

But sadly I will not be voting this time round. There are several reasons why this is. I will list them for you now.

1. I can’t.
I’m overseas and my polling station is about 33,000 kilometres to the east of the bar I’m sitting in right now. There is an election going on over here but it’s not a Canadian one.

If Szymon Huptys thinks he's getting my vote for Region Two District Comptroller, he needs to read up on the local voter eligibility laws.

If Szymon Huptys thinks he’s getting my vote for Region Two District Comptroller, he needs to read up on the local voter eligibility laws.

2. I missed the advanced polling.
All the advanced voting took place weeks after I’d already left home. If they’re going to double the length of the campaign they should do the same for the advanced polling window. Makes sense to me.

3. I didn’t to do the mail-in ballot.
Technically I could have voted through the mail but that required me to do a bunch of things (go online, read a procedure, I think send in a letter (purchase a stamp), maybe photocopy something). Before this trip my brain was in full-on get-ready-for-travel mode and it pushed aside some other non-travel tasks (of which mail-in voting was one).

4. I forgot.
I heard a few weeks ago that one could vote at any Elections Canada office but by the time I did remember this as an option it was already too late. I was in Toronto about to fly overseas and all my election-related gear (old-style heath card with no picture, voter registration card, a hydro bill with my name and address on it) was back in Ottawa.

5. My roommate has integrity.
My request to have someone else cast my ballot for me on election day was declined.

6. It would cost too much.
I could fly home and cast my ballot and then fly back to my holiday but that would be prohibitively expensive. About $2,635 and 48 hours hours of travel.

7. It makes no difference which party I vote for.
All the main political parties are (to me, for this election) the same. There is one issue that is very important to me and none of the parties have even mentioned it. If you’re a single-issue voter (like I am) and the choices are all terrible, what are you supposed to do? Many of you would lose your minds if I spoke about this issue publicly so I’m going to save us both the trouble and keep it to myself. And the best part is – because this issue is so contentious, I didn’t have to do any research to determine where each party stands. I know this because my Facebook page would have exploded with Facebook rage if anyone had even mentioned thinking about proposing a motion against the idea. Even though New Zealand implemented the exact same thing back in 2001 and last time I checked, they seemed to be doing ok.

8. People keep telling me that I *have* to vote.
Hey, guess what – no, I don’t. There’s something that irks me just a tiny bit about being told I *have* to do something. It kinda makes me want to do the opposite.

9. Where’s our Bernie Sanders?
I’m not seeing a candidate who is proposing to fix the stupid flaws (or are they stupid features?) of the *system*. It seems to me that there’s something fundamentally wrong when the Prime Minister can basically micro manage the entire country for nine years. I don’t expect Stephen Harper to run on a platform of adding checks and balances to the office of the PM, but I’m not hearing anything from the other candidates on this same topic. Candidates whom, I might add, will enjoy the same powers Mr. Harper did, should they emerge victorious.

10. And finally, isn’t the whole process kind of pointless?
As Mark Twain famously once said, “If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it.” In the past when things were like they are this time round, I used to vote Green to give that party $2.00 (via the per-vote subsidy). I like the idea of supporting the underdog (and also shining a light on environmental issues) but I can’t do that this year because the program was cancelled by the well-funded Progressive Conservatives back in 2011. Pointlessness restored.

Anyway, there’s your list. I understand that you might not agree with / understand every single reason, so my suggestion for you is to pick the one that you most identify with and ignore the rest. If you dislike all ten reasons, tell yourself I would have voted against the guy you support – it effectively doubles the value of your own vote.

Also: try not think about what zero times two is.

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