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Wednesday, 25 September 2013 13:30

Don’t take right to vote for granted

Written by  Rose Sanchez
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It’s election time again in Alberta.

There was a flurry of activity in the southeast corner of the province as individuals submitted their candidacy papers to run in the Oct. 21 municipal election.
It’s great to see rural residents will go to the polls in some areas to vote for both school board candidates as well as those individuals to represent them on municipal councils.
To those representatives who were successful in winning their seats by acclamation, congratulations. While you may think the hard work is over it’s really just begun. For those new to a council, it will be time to get to work to learn the ins and outs of the organization and the many issues on the plates of these elected officials. Those acclaimed to their seats have the next month to prepare and inform themselves with the important issues at hand.
Those people who have to canvas the public for votes still have work ahead of them too — getting their name out there and meeting the potential voters.
Running for a political position is no easy task and we owe a great deal of thanks to the people who have agreed to get involved in public office. It’s hard work for little pay and usually includes having to listen to a lot of grumbling from Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public.
Voters shouldn’t think they don’t have work ahead of them either because they do.
An informed vote is the best vote.
That means individuals need to take the time to learn the stances of each of their candidates. Not only can one find out more about why these people are letting their names stand, but voters should feel comfortable to talk to candidates about
what they see as the important issues. Take concerns to these people and have a dialogue about them. Voters may even be able to offer up potential solutions or suggestions to remedy issues of concern.
There’s a month to go until voters head to the polls — plenty of time for individuals to make sure they know exactly whose name to mark an ‘x’.
And remember, if a person still can’t decide who best represents them for the next four years, he or she can still have a say this election because a spoiled ballot is counted.
We all need to take the right to vote as a responsibility — not a chore. Individuals in other countries are still fighting for their right to vote so we should not take the responsibility of taking part in democracy so lightly. 
The people we elect will represent our wishes on a local level for the next four years and it’s important every resident of age has a chance to have input into who those people sitting around the council and school board tables will be.
Rose Sanchez is assistant managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact her with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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