I simply don't see the logic in choosing not to cast a ballot on election day.
There's a principle at play here and it's one I think we too easily ignore. Our right to vote is a cornerstone of our democracy.
So I'm wondering if what we're missing is a sense of duty.
That's something that is top of mind with me right now, as my son is currently preparing for deployment to Afghanistan. He is driven by a sense of duty that few can understand. But it resonates with me.
So will I let election day go by and not do my duty?
Not a chance. How could I?
How can any of us?
No one can tell me they don't care about provincial government policies. These have a huge impact on your day-to-day life. From schools to health care, from taxes to transportation, whoever is in charge in Victoria will play a big part in your life for the next four years.
Add the current economic climate to the mix and you'd think voters would be lining up on May 12 to have their say. What could be more important?
But getting people to the ballot box is a big challenge these days.
We all like to complain, but many of us, apparently, don't like to vote. Or don't want to vote. Or just don't bother to vote.
I don't get it.
How could anyone choose not to try to influence who wins the election? Why would you leave it to others to decide for you?
I've heard all kinds of excuses from people who don't vote. Many point to the fact that millions do cast their ballots every election day, so one vote less doesn't really matter. Others say they don't trust politicians to follow through on their promises, so can't be bothered wasting their time. Those who don't like the party system have a similar argument: what you vote for isn't necessarily what you're going to get, so why make the effort?
The system's not perfect - I get that. But there are a lot worse systems out there and imperfect as it may be, we are blessed to be living in a democracy.
Cue the violins, you might say, but here's the deal: We honour veterans every Remembrance Day for having fought and died to preserve our way of life. Yet many of us choose not to exercise one of the most precious rights we have.
And women should take special note: it's not that long ago that we weren't allowed to vote. Women's suffrage groups fought long and hard to get us to the ballot box. They won the battle to vote in provincial elections here in B.C. in 1917 - really not that long ago. (In Quebec, they didn't win that right until 1940.) What kind of homage do we pay those women when we choose not to show up on voting day?
If it's the current electoral system that's really got your goat, then you should be thinking long and hard about whether the Single Transferable Vote is the way to go. This election (as did the last one) includes a referendum question on our electoral system and voters will be asked if they support BC-STV or the current "first past the post" system. You'd think that opportunity in itself might boost voter turnout.
Then again, maybe not.
Last provincial election, only 58 per cent of the estimated eligible voters cast ballots.
Pundits are suggesting that turnout in this election may again be low. The campaign is dull, they say, and so far there hasn't been a flashpoint to spark voter interest.
But really folks, do we have to be all fired up before we bother to vote? Shouldn't we just cherish this right and act on it?
And if we suddenly lost our right to vote would 42 per cent of us say, "Oh well, I didn't really care about that anyway?"
I doubt it.