To all Lethbridge citizens,
I have always wondered, as an “average Albertan”, why it is that so few of us vote? We have opinions about everything, and seem fairly comfortable talking about those opinions with our friends and coworkers, but for some reason that has translated into less than half of us making it to the polls in recent years.
Since moving to Lethbridge in 2003, I have been continually impressed by the community-minded, caring, interested, and generally optimistic spirit of the people who call this city home. If I had to describe Lethbridge with one word I would say that it is a “hopeful” city. Given these impressions, I was very surprised to discover that voter turnout is on the decline here as well!
Since the electoral districts of Lethbridge West and Lethbridge East were created in 1971 (the year that the PC party first came to power in Alberta), voter turnout in Lethbridge has declined from 74% to 34%. Over this same time period, the population of eligible voters increased by 43568 people, but in 2008 there were only 4991 more votes cast than in 1971!
While I hesitate to advocate voting without educating yourself about the candidates, parties, and issues, I have noticed that once people make the step to start voting, they start to care more about politics in general because they have invested some small part of themselves in the process. The only way our votes can matter is if we vote, and the only way we can influence the direction of government is to get involved.
Visit www.facebook.com/Bridge.Gap.Vote (a voter challenge initiative with a goal of increasing voter turnout in Lethbridge to 80%) and www.electlethbridge.wordpress.com (a site devoted to engaging the citizens of Lethbridge on all things political)
An “average Albertan” who would love to see Lethbridge voters be much better than average!
(This letter was also submitted to the Lethbridge Herald and posted on Bridge the Gap’s facebook page)