To win a provincial election you do not have to get more than 50 per cent of the eligible voters in British Columbia…you just have to get more votes than the candidates you are running against.
When you look back at the history of people voting in elections in B.C. and the number of parties involved, a candidate does not have to get anywhere near the numbers of votes to win as one might think.
Sadly, over time, the percentage of people voting has become the only sure thing when elections are held in B.C.
Going back to 1928, Elections BC has the numbers provided online of how many people get out and vote in provincial elections. In the past two elections in B.C., in 2005 and 2009, the percentage of registered voters who cast a ballot dropped from 62.36 per cent to 55.14 per cent. These are the only two times in the history of provincial elections in B.C. when their number has dropped below 65 per cent.
When you look at the breakdown of these numbers into age groups the numbers show a disturbing trend.
In 2009, only 26.88 per cent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. Those between the ages of 25 and 34 hit 33.69 per cent. The highest percentage of eligible voters who cast a ballot were between the ages of 65 and 74 with 71.53 per cent.
It is far too easy to say young people do not care about politics. Saying that young people are apathetic is not fair to the younger generation either. People need to be given a reason to get out and vote. Sure it is a democratic right, and in a perfect world everyone would see this as enough of a reason to cast their democratically earned ballot. But the reality is too many people do not see a difference in what they are being offered.
Politics is a game played by candidates who make many promises. But once a group gets into power there is a tendency to forget who voted them into their very important positions. This is what I have heard from many people who debate whether the effort of learning about what is happening in an election is really worth it.
In B.C., residents have stepped up over the past few years to have their voices heard. They have come together to change policies they did not like. This kind of passion is what needs to be found again if there is any hope of getting more people out to vote in this election.
It does not matter who you vote for on any election day, but you should always vote for one simple reason. The people elected are the policy makers who will affect your lives for the near future. They will decide what will be taxed and what work gets completed in the province. They will be your voice, provincially, nationally and internationally moving forward.
The people in Golden showed, at the recently held all candidates meeting, that they can be political on many different issues. Many people stepped up to the microphone to ask challenging questions to the current batch of Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA hopefuls. They talked about many of the important issues that are vital to the future of Golden.
Hopefully this momentum carries on to election day and the tide begins to change on how many votes are cast.