Every year is composed of different dates that evoke emotions within a person. Whether it be their birthday, an anniversary, or a first day of a new chapter of their lives, somehow seeing a seemingly regular combination of letters and numbers wakes up butterflies and excitement.
For me, today’s date, the day of Ontario’s Provincial Elections, was one of those days. When I woke up and saw the lock screen on my phone say “June 7, 2018” I was suddenly filled with nerves. It’s weird, right? Why would I be nervous for a minute-long procedure that consists of walking into a room and putting an ‘X’ in a circle?
As a first-time voter, I can tell you that it wasn’t necessarily just because I had never done it before. The nervousness did not stem from the idea of walking to my local polling station and placing my vote. I say this with certainty, because the feeling did not go away once I got home. No, these nerves were different. These nerves were anticipating who I would be waking up to tomorrow as my new Premier. They were a result of worrying about whether or not enough millennial voters would come out and help change the results of the polls.
For weeks, I have been seeing posts all over social media urging the youth of my generation to go out and vote, to exercise this right that we have and to represent those who are unable to do so. It seemed absolutely ridiculous to me that this is something that people had to tell us to do. As soon as I turned 18, one of the things I was most excited for was being able to vote in any upcoming election. Now that I am 20-years-old, the time is finally here. It’s exciting. Wouldn’t it be exciting for everyone else my age, too?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. Time and time again we’ve seen it: millennial voting numbers have consistently remained low after every election. When I asked my friends and colleagues why they don’t think they’ll go out and vote, I found a few similarities in their responses:
“What’s the point? I’m just one out of thousands of votes.”
“My vote isn’t going to change what’s going to happen.”
“It’s always the same groups winning every time, there’s no point in me going.”
If this is how you feel, please know that it is not true! History has shown us that millennial votes have such a strong impact, because these old-school politicians and organizations don’t count us when making predictions. When we surprise the cynical boomers with a plethora of votes, we make our impact both in the government and in the media. Such can be seen in the results of the 2015 federal elections, in which millennial voter turnout helped the Liberal party win a majority government. Your votes are important and your beliefs deserve to be represented.
As corny as it sounds, I don’t think I will ever forget the 2018 provincial elections. I will remember this time as the first time I ever voted, the first time I ever felt that I took a step towards making a difference and the first time that I will be able to see the results of what hundreds of thousands of Ontarians and I did today.
If you were eligible to vote in this election and did not, I understand. I know that you might have felt that it was pointless or that it was too much effort. I promise you it is not, and I hope that the next time an election rolls around, you change your mind.
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