By Bromley Chamberlain
As a young adult in Canada, I have been taught the importance of voting. As a woman, I feel the pressure to vote even more.
New Zealand was the first country to issue women the right to vote in 1893. In Canada women earned the right to vote by province. Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan were the first provinces to allow women to vote, in 1916. Canada followed suit and federally issued women the right to vote in 1918.
Less than 100 years ago women were unable to voice their opinions and vote for what they believed in.
Young voters in Canada are not pulling their weight when it comes to voting. According to Elections Canada’s research, in the federal election in 2008, young voter turnout was approximately 37 per cent.
I understand that I am not facing a federal or even a provincial election, but I feel I should have a say in this year’s municipal election.
Since I have just recently moved to Rimbey, and to Alberta, I am ineligible to vote on Oct. 18.
When I asked at the town office for the eligibility requirements to vote in the election, I was told that I had to live within the town, be 18 and have lived in Rimbey for 24 hours.
On discussing my eligibility to vote with other people in town, they told me I also had to have been here for six months. So, I made a second trip to the town office and asked to see a hard copy of the voting laws.
There it was, the last point saying that voters have to be a resident of Alberta for six months.
I am a young voter, I am a woman, I am educated, I live within the town, and I want to vote.
Crossing a provincial line to make Rimbey my home has made me ineligible to vote, both here and where I used to live in Ontario.
I find it hard to believe that if I had lived in Alberta before moving to Rimbey that I would be eligible to vote. I am not as upset about not being able to vote, because I haven’t lived here long enough, but the fact that someone from elsewhere in Alberta could live in Rimbey for 24 hours and be able to vote, is that really good for the town? If someone can live in Rimbey for just 24 hours and be eligible to vote, how informed would their decisions be in an election?
If the provincial government is going to have a six-month rule about voting, then I think that should apply to the town as well. If someone can vote who has lived in Rimbey for 24 hours, then as an educated young adult, I feel that I should also be allowed to vote.
I was brought up to believe in my right as a citizen and to vote every chance I have. People fought for my right to vote. Women have fought for the right to vote. I am fighting for my right to vote.