Voter apathy

Lacombe and Blackfalds have a problem. Actually it’s a problem that they have in common with most of Canada.

Lacombe and Blackfalds have a problem.

Actually it’s a problem that they have in common with most of Canada. That problem is voter apathy. In the last municipal election, 2,932 of Lacombe’s 8,945 eligible voters went to the polls to cast their ballots, that’s just under 33%. Blackfalds had even poorer luck at the polls, with only 713 of 3,000 eligible voters, just under 24% turning out at the polls.

That means, in both Lacombe and Blackfalds, the decision of who should represent the people of the community and make decisions on what will happen in the community was made by a minority.

That sounds bad, but it sounds even worse when you think about how the entire political system works on majorities. In order to be elected as mayor or councillor, a candidate must receive the majority of the votes.

Once elected, those who form the council then vote to make decisions that affect the entire community. Again, the decision that is made is the one that gets the majority of the council members’ votes.

If it’s a minority of eligible citizens who are electing these governments, that means there is likely a majority of eligible citizens whose interests aren’t being represented in Council Chambers. That in turn means that there is a good chance that some of the decisions made in Council Chambers won’t be very agreeable to a lot of people. Why then, do we have such a staggering majority of eligible voters not exercising their right to vote?

People can’t think that the municipal election isn’t important enough for them to take part. Elections are how leaders are chosen. After being chosen, these leaders are then charged with representing the community.

That’s what an election is, choosing someone to represent your best interests. If you don’t go out and vote, how are your best interests being represented? It is understandable that a lot of people work or have other commitments that they can’t afford to neglect even for the few short minutes needed to cast a ballot, but surely we can do better than 33 and 24%.

Election day is Oct. 21. Both Lacombe and Blackfalds have polling stations open all day for your convenience. Advanced polls are also being held in both municipalities to accommodate those who are not able to vote on Oct. 21. For exact dates, times and locations of both the advance and election day polls, see www.lacombe.ca or www.blackfalds.com.

Also available on these web sites are the new identification requirements for voters this election. All eligible voters should make themselves aware of these requirements before heading out to cast their ballots.

No level of government decisions impact people greater than those made municipally. This is our greatest opportunity to make our voices heard and use influence in the political process.