Are you ready to vote?
Municipal elections are just about a month away, so we here at Link Mag thought we’d give you guys the rundown about things you should probably do to get prepared for them.
Can I vote?
It depends. If you’re eighteen or older, a citizen of Canada, and have lived in your electoral district for at least six months, then yes, you can. Make sure you’re registered to vote. Some districts offer an online checking system, which you can access right from home. Just put your name and address in. The database will pop up with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.’ If it’s a ‘no,’ you’ll have to register online here. You can also register with Elections BC by phone at 1-800-661-8683.
And remember, social, economic, environmental and political responsibility does go past voting day. If, for whatever reason, you’re not able to vote, write your local council members and mayor about issues that matter to you. Not happy with your garbage pick-up days changing every week? Have a recommendation for your city’s engineers? Then write a letter or an e-mail. Who knows? You may find a number of people share your outlook – and boom! Changes possibly implemented!
Why should I care?
Well…when you live, work, and play in a city, you’re a part of its space. Whether or not you like how the space is being run, the people at your municipal, provincial and federal government levels are at the forefront of it. They work out bylaws, speak on your behalf to other government folks, and try to reach out to citizens. By choosing to vote for a current government, or choosing to vote for another slough of people, you’re speaking out because it’s not only your right, but your responsibility.
I can’t vote on November 15th. Might as well skip it, right?
False. You can actually vote on other days aside from the 15th! Municipalities are required to offer advanced voting options to their citizens. If you’re not in town, you can also vote in absentia (in absence/while absent). Again, these rules and regulations do depend on your municipality, so be sure to check out the sites for the ones you live in. AND if you’re working on any of those days, your employer is required to give you time off. If they don’t, you can file a complaint with Elections BC – and they’ll follow up on it.
I can’t get past all the political jargon. In fact, I feel so out of the loop. Do I have any options?
Most of the candidates have websites and Twitter handles with their latest stances on the major topics they’re platforming. Some of them have even taken to places like reddit where they’re holding AMA threads. We’re definitely in a day and age where you have more opportunities to reach out and connect with them. Some of them will even reply back! You can also talk to friends and family about what you think. By creating dialogue, you’ll feel more aware of what’s going on in your town.
Save the date. November 15th – vote!
Ria Renouf is an Associate Editor for BCIT’s Link Magazine. A second-year Broadcasting student, she’ll report on anything; her first loves, however, are movies, music, gaming and technology. Outside of BCIT she reads many books and cheers for the Vancouver Canucks and Seattle Seahawks. She also aspires to be a new generation’s Tintin, and does so by reporting for radio station CKNW News Talk 980AM’s news desk.