EDITORIAL & OPINIONS
No vote is a vote for apathy
It's finally election time. And while the debates have been
heating up across the province between the political parties,
voter apathy in student-aged groups has never been higher.
When the polls open today, it's highly unlikely ballot boxes
will be stuffed with student votes. Our age demographic has
the lowest voter turn-out of any single group, despite our
love of bitching about increased tuition fees, needed reform
of the Ontario Student Assistance Program and other such issues
affecting our lives as students.
So why aren't we voting?
While the argument may follow something along the lines of "what
difference does my one vote make?" it's important to note if
you don't vote you are giving away your say in political matters.
In simple terms - if you don't vote, you don't have the right
A group of 22 rag tag editors at The Gazette could hardly
decide which candidate to endorse for the London North Centre
riding, be it the Conservative Party's Dianne Cunningham, the
New Democratic Party's Rebecca Coulter or the Liberal Party's
Deb Matthews. It becomes evident every vote does make a difference.
Young people often feel the political world is far removed
from their lives, making it difficult to make an informed decision.
Further, it has been argued politicians do little to attract
the youth vote, perpetuating the cycle of apathy. We don't
care about politics and so politics doesn't care about us.
But with today's election, we are now being handed the opportunity
to affect change. Until we take it into our own hands and march
out and cast ballots, regardless of the party, we will continue
to be an un-marketed demographic.
The step into the political realm may seem daunting to many
students, especially those who feel they simply do not know
enough to make an informed decision. A majority of voters tend
to vote along party lines and not necessarily for individual
candidates per say, this making party Web sites an invaluable
tool. (See the following sites: Liberal www.choosechange.ca,
NDP www.publicpower.ca, PC www.ontariopc.on.ca)
Student voter apathy reflects in many cases the simple fact
politics are not something which interests a majority of university
students. Also, at many times, polling booths tend to be very
inaccessible for students. But this year, residence students
can vote on campus and for those off-campus residents, photo
identification and a bill with an address will get you that
slip of paper at the polling stations.
If we want politicians to address issues relevant to the student
demographic, then we have to give them a reason to do so. The
polls are open today between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. - get out there