Why I Vote

After yet another politically motivated robo-call interrupted dinner last week, my inquisitive and engaged 11 year old asked me a question that I gave a quick response to, but it’s had me thinking ever since. She asked me why I vote. My answer was that city government provides services and supports that are important to me and our family.  That I think voting is important and I want her to think so too.

I still agree with the quick answer, but later I started thinking about local government and their impact on my community and my health. I looked over the BCAHL ‘Vote for Health’ toolkit  – and all of these points and more are why I vote.

Local governments provide water and sewers, garbage pick-up and fire protection. How many fire halls are enough, what kind of treatment does our water get before it comes to us, and where does it go before it hits the ocean? Does our garbage stay local, get trucked to another community or get incinerated? (Big and tricky issues that don’t have easy answers.) How often are leaves collected and are they composted?

Local governments also make decisions on what kind of buildings are built in and around your neighborhood, how parks are maintained, where schools are located and whether there are safe routes to get to those schools by bike or by foot. They make decisions on whether there’s recreation and sport opportunities and whether we can access swim lessons, skating and other activities that keep us engaged not only physically, but socially in our community.

Local governments are the ones that make the decisions that affect my day to day choices, and that is why I vote. My vote matters more at the local level than at any other level of government, but sadly, less people vote at a local level. It’s a shame.

I plan to take my kids along when I vote this weekend. Not just because there’s a spot right beside my son’s soccer game to do so, but because I want to model voting for future participants in our democratic system. It’s important that they see their parents walking the walk when it comes to making the most of our democracy. I want my inquisitive, engaged 11 year old to be an engaged and active 20, 50 and 80 year old. I want her to vote.

Samantha Hartley-Folz
Manager, Policy & Programs
November 2014

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