While voting in Canada is a right, I believe voting is a privilege, and, to maintain it, we have to exercise it. Since I turned eighteen, I chose to give up this privilege once: I had just moved to Ontario and felt that I didn’t know the issues enough to voice my opinion in a mayoral election.
I take voting seriously. I dislike hearing my fellow citizens declare that they chose not to vote although it is their right not to.
As I stood in the line up this evening, waiting for my turn to vote for the next Ontario Premier, I looked around at the male and female poll clerks and information assistants. The white European-descendant faces of my youth were mainly replaced by faces of darker complexions.
Some heads were covered by scarves, skullcaps or turbans. Some faces sported beards or nose rings. These are my fellow citizens who take elections as seriously as I do. I wondered if any of these people were motivated to serve their fellow Ontarians due to their past. Were they or their parents from a country ruled by a tyrant? Or a country which only allowed a certain class to vote? Or a certain gender?
A little less than a hundred years ago, I wouldn’t have had the right to vote. I agonized over my choice during the last few weeks and even considered spoiling my ballot a few times. But as I left the polling station, my choice clearly indicated, my ballot safely in the box with all the others who chose to mark their choice with an X, I felt powerful. I am a citizen of Mississauga, of Ontario, and of Canada, and my voice counts in each of these communities.
Do you think your vote counts?