Try occupying a ballot box

Sense of alienation clearly evident in Saturday's vote in Parksville

I really hate the idea of bribing people — either with their own money or time, or with government-sanctioned enticements — to vote. Yet I really like the idea of making voting in local, provincial and federal elections compulsory.

It’s a conflict of ideals that brings me right back around again to our current electoral system. Either we force people to vote — or we at least bribe them to do it — or we stick with what we’ve got. Neither way is perfect and have their share of detractors.

Yet, in the face of poor voter turnout, it’s time governments thought of ways to change this trend. Obviously, guilt espoused by newspaper editors isn’t going to cut it, and doing so is in all of our best interest. Excluding Qualicum Beach (which almost always meets or exceeds provincial and national turnout levels), most of the people registered to vote in our communities, stayed away.

So where were they?

Hunkered down in the only place where opponents to the current system (electoral, financial, you name it) could be found — the so-called Occupy movement? Not likely. But I’d bet plenty of those who didn’t vote share that movement’s concerns and feel disenfranchised in some form.

If that’s the case, I say hogwash. You are only disenfranchising yourself and are simply complaining rather than doing anything about it. As we see today, ‘Occupy’ is not an Arab Spring. It’s all but over.

Had you occupied a ballot box instead, you would have had a voice in who represents you in the only system we have right now.

As it stands, if you don’t vote and feel it’s worthless to do so, the only place you can go to complain about the system is the Internet — a place where a little information is always dangerous. — editorial by Steven Heywood


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