Province’s destiny rests with voters

Elections are the one and only time you can turn an opinion into reality, simply by checking off a box

Sam Hancheroff, the NDP candidate for Boundary Similkameen, said it clearly, but it’s a sentiment that is no doubt shared by all the candidates in the upcoming provincial election.

“The biggest thing I am telling people is to vote,” said Hancheroff. “This is going to be a very important election. There are a lot of issues, but we need to make sure we vote.”

In addition to Hancheroff, candidates in Boundary Similkameen include Liberal Linda Larson and Mischa Popoff of the Conservatives. In the Penticton riding, the candidates are Liberal Dan Ashton, the NDP’s Dick Cannings and Doug Maxwell with B.C. First.

We all have opinions, and over the next month, as the various parties try to convince us they are the best choice, you are going to hear more opinions than you would likely care to. You may even venture a few yourself.

But it all comes to nothing if you don’t vote. In the last provincial election, in 2009, voter turnout hit a record low of 51 per cent, far below the 58 per cent turnout in 2005. And while Penticton and Boundary Similkameen can pat themselves on the back for beating the provincial average (53 and 58 per cent, respectively) it is still nothing to brag about.

Sixty per cent has long been considered a typical voter turnout. Such a low expectation of the voting public is somewhat sad. There are all sorts of clichés we could spout off to encourage you to vote: ‘Change starts with you;” “Your vote counts;” etc. You’ve heard them  all before.

But the simple truth is that the vast majority of the electorate has an opinion. And elections are the one and only time you can turn an opinion into reality, simply by checking off a box.

So as the election campaign rolls through the province over the next month, listen closely, form your opinion, and finally, put that opinion into action by voting on May 14.