Municipal Elections – Does My Vote Matter?
The simple answer is yes, your vote does matter. (But that doesn’t make for a very interesting blog, now does it?)
A great advantage about municipal politics is that it’s easier to get to know the candidates on a more personal level than candidates at the provincial or federal level. Outside of major cities, many candidates will be someone you went to high school with or they’re related to a friend of yours, or they’re a local business owner of your favourite shop. For those candidates you are not familiar with, many municipalities “All Candidates’ Meetings”, that provide meet & greet opportunities throughout the campaign. These sessions typically encourage questions and comments. Local media outlets usually profile candidates and their platforms so you can gain a better understanding of who they are and what they stand for. Check your municipalities website, your local newspaper, cable channel and social media.
Candidates generally have an established platform or mandate on which they’ll be campaigning. While you might agree with their thoughts and ideas about that platform, keep in mind that they’ll still be voting on your behalf for any items that come up at council meetings. Be sure that their morals, values, and goals for the future of your municipality are clearly in line with your own. Remember, just because you agree with their platform doesn’t always mean that they share your views on current or potential affairs that will need to be decided upon.
Who you vote on to council will have a direct influence on your municipality, your daily life, your business and your city or town’s long-term goals and strategic plan.
Here are 5 great reasons for you to learn about your local candidates and get out there and vote in the municipal election.
- Each potential candidate brings something unique to the table. Everyone has particular ideas about how things should be done. They have personal causes they support or want to see come to fruition. Even their motivation to vote a certain way on issues can be something you fully agree with or the reason you’ll never check off their name on the ballot.
- Your local government is responsible for affecting much of the health and safety of your daily life. Some of these important issues are: Public transit, keeping streets clean and maintained, local police and fire, community water systems
- Municipal decisions include long-term planning for your town/city. Some considerations are: Neighbourhood planning, major road work, sewer systems, annual festivals/events, tourist attractions
- Social issues are often dealt with at the municipal level: Where to place shelters to help the homeless, how to keep drugs off the street, how to make the downtown core safe, affordable housing
- Local government loves community enrichment projects: Parks, waterfront enhancement, recreation centres, libraries, arts, culture
Having your voice heard in the municipal selection process is important. Your vote plays an integral part in shaping your community. I encourage you to get involved in your local politics this year. Get to know the candidates and vote. Who knows, maybe politics will become something you’re passionate about and we’ll even see your name on the ballots four years from now.
muniSERV is Canada’s leading online solution for helping municipalities and professionals connect. We help municipalities save time and money searching for the consultants & CAOs they need while offering professionals the opportunity to showcase their profile and services to get found and grow their business.