Editor's View: Exercise your rights this election day

Today, polls are open in Creighton for the town’s byelection, and advance polls are open in Flin Flon for its general municipal election.

It’s time to head out and vote - this is the moment your voice really counts.

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Municipal elections are the place where you can most quickly affect immediate change. Generally, government moves...well...at the slow pace of government, but municipal elections have more of an instant gratification factor than any other.

The people you put to work today and next Wednesday, Oct. 24 could be making decisions in the coming weeks that will affect our communities almost immediately. Your actions, or lack thereof, decide who gets to cast their vote on the big issues and who doesn’t.

Flin Flon has had a shockingly low voter turnout in the last two municipal elections. In 2014, just 35 per cent of eligible residents cast their ballots, down from 45 per cent in the election previous to that in 2010.

I say it’s shocking for a number of reasons. For one, the amount of people who voted doesn’t, anecdotally speaking, seem to match up with the amount of word-of-mouth and online weigh-in, positive, negative or otherwise, from residents about council’s actions. For another, the apathy is just so hard to wrap my head around. This is a community facing economic and social challenges that at times seem overwhelming. Doesn’t it matter who is at the helm?

Flin Flon isn’t alone in voter apathy. The northern half of the province had the lowest voter turnout during the 2016 provincial election.

But for Flin Flon, this municipal election could be one of the more exciting elections. With all but one incumbent running alongside a smattering of new faces, council and the community itself could see some significant changes over the next four year term.

And then there’s the issue of how we got the right to vote, how we have the right to vote, how people have died so others would have the right to vote, and how there are people on this earth today, powerless because they don’t have the right to vote.

It seems an incredibly careless thing to waste an opportunity to shape our future when so many have suffered so we could have that opportunity and so many others suffer because they simply don’t have it.

So head out over the next week and cast your ballot. Take part in your community and your future. Give some lucky and hopefully qualified candidates a new job.

Advance polls in Flin Flon will take place from 8 am to 8 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Flin Flon City Hall.

The Creighton byelection takes place from 9 am to 8 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at the Town of Creighton office.

The Flin Flon general municipal election will take place from 8 am to 8 pm on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Generally, residents who live below Ross Lake will vote at Northminster United Memorial Church. Residents who live above Ross Lake will vote at Flin Flon Community Hall. Detailed polling information is available at www.cityofflinflon.ca.

To be eligible to vote, residents must be at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen, and a resident of the community for at least six months. Voters must bring photo ID to the polling station.

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