"Not voting means other people are voting for you." Photo credit: Cedfrei Sarmiento

Shawn O’Connor, a student in the office administration health services program, believes in the power of individual voters and the difference each one of us can make. If enough people don’t vote, it impacts an election’s results.

“Low attendance to voting can put the wrong candidate into power,” said O’Connor. “Having an individual put in power that may or may not reflect the best interests of the nation and who can make decisions, will affect all of us.”

Choosing not to vote may seem inconsequential for those who do not follow politics, but what if your vote determined whether children in your community would receive adequate care and food? Or whether programs that help disabled people would receive further funding? These are the stakes for many communities when it comes to voting.

Voting is one of the most crucial ways that individuals can voice their concerns and exercise their power. When you vote, you are contributing to the functions of society. If we all decided not to vote we would be endangering our own democracy.

When voting, it is important to consider any future legislation and programs that could positively or negatively affect you and your community.

Not voting means other people are voting for you. Many students at Algonquin College rely on financial aids like bursaries, specialty programs and student assistance programs. For some, an election can be the determining factor of whether a student is able to make it to their second semester.

By 1874, Canada had established a secret ballot, but there were many people in power who believed that women, Indigenous communities and the impoverished shouldn’t vote. “The chaotic story of the right to vote in Canada,” published by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, explains that Prime Minister John A. Macdonald was one of them.

In 1865, he argued that voting is not a right but a privilege in Parliament. “There is no inalienable right in any man to exercise the franchise,” Macdonald said. Each electoral district had only one voting station, making it difficult for those who were permitted to vote to cast their ballot due to the potential travel distance.

It took many years for each Canadian, no matter their race or gender, to be given right to vote. As students in Algonquin, we must recognize the trials and tribulations of past generations.

Voting is that small act that can create great change.