My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

This New Fangled Voting Thing

OpenOffice.org 3.0 is out today, so while I was downloading the torrent, I remembered I had yet to watch Michael Moore's free film Slacker Uprising chronicling his campaign to get slackers to vote in the 2004 American presidential election.

The film was interesting. Whatever you think of Michael Moore's position or techniques, he's certainly passionate about what he's doing. And democracy may not be the most perfect system of government, but it seems to be the best one we've tried so far. Democracy is all about getting the people to vote, and Michael Moore was encouraging people to vote. As Martha Stewart might say, "That's a good thing."

Tomorrow is Election Day here in Canada. If you are a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older, you can vote. If you aren't sure how to do this, go to the Elections Canada website. If you can vote, you should vote. Even if you're going to vote Conservative (I'm not), I want you to go and vote. We live in a democracy; it is your duty as a citizen to participate in the democratic process by voting for your representative in the next government.

You don't need to be a political junkie to vote. I wish that everyone could be an informed voter, but that isn't a requirement either. Just go to your polling station tomorrow and vote. There's still time to research party platforms if you really want to be informed. Otherwise, just mark a name on the ballot.

If you don't vote, then what right do you have to complain when someone you dislike comes into power? You didn't do anything to even try to stop it from happening. If you don't vote, then what right do you have to complain when the government cancels a program from which you benefit or introduces legislation that affects your family? Some people don't vote because they're apathetic--I find this particularly true of my peers. Like it or not, however, as long as you live in Canada, the actions of the government are going to have an impact on you. If you don't vote, you're sending the message that you don't care about living in a democracy.

It doesn't take up your whole day. It doesn't even take up an hour. If you have already voted, then good job. You've done your duty. You can go home, sit on the couch, and watch TV until the next election rolls around--I won't bother you. If you haven't voted yet, then tomorrow, go to your polling station with the proper identification, get a ballot, and make your mark. That's all you have to do.