I Voted Today (For The First Time EVER)

I’m a mom of three in my late 30’s, and today was the first time I have ever voted in a federal election.

Before you wag your fingers, unfollow me, and respond to this post with negative comments, hear me out.

I had never voted before because I didn’t want to make an uninformed decision. I knew that my vote counted, and I didn’t want my uneducated eenie meenie miney mo pick to be the one that swayed the results. I didn’t want to vote for someone because my parents were voting that way, or because the paid TV ads told me to, or because I wanted to vote against someone else. I wanted to make an informed decision, and to vote based on my own beliefs.

I’m not going to lie, it was commentary on social media, conversations with friends and family, and debates in the media that motivated me to take the leap into voter-land. I read up on the issues, and tried my best to gain a basic understanding of each perspective. I took online tests to see where my opinions aligned with various parties, and I visited the webpages of each of the candidates in my riding to learn more about them.

There is still so much to learn, and I’m in no way a fully knowledgeable political savant, but I feel comfortable with my decision, and hope that my choice to exercise my right to vote will make all the difference this year. I’m also proud to be able to share the experience with my children, and to be able to explain to them the importance of exercising our right to vote as Canadian citizens.

For those of you who, like me, are voting for the first time today, but are too embarrassed to admit it – here are some quick tips to make the voting process a bit easier for you:

Know where you have to go to place your vote. I had assumed that I would be able to vote at my children’s school (one of the official local voting stations). Unfortunately, I was redirected to another location to cast my vote, as my residential address was in another catchment area.

Bring your official “voter information card” (and 2 pieces of ID). I didn’t know where my voter card was (to be honest, I likely tossed it into the recycling bin when it arrived without even noticing what it was). I was still able to vote, but it would have been an easier process if I had referred to the information on the card, and had arrived at the polling station with my card in hand.

Know the names of the candidates in your electoral district. It’s important to know the names of the candidates in your district because you will be voting for them, not by the names of the political parties.

Now head to the polls, and happy voting!