Somehow, I'm not sure if this is what Rick Mercer was elicit when he challenged the cynical youth of Canada to confound the system and vote this time around...
Still, you have to appreciate the vigour of these University of Guelph students. A seemingly hardy bunch. However, these are the kids I'm not worried about when it comes to getting out to vote. I recently found myself drawn into a discussion with a pair of young people who've never voted, and for every compelling reason why they should, there seemed to be an equal and opposite reason why they couldn't:
"I don't think my vote counts."
"Voting matters. Election financing depends on the amount of popular support a party receives in the previous election. You're vote may not be able to elect the Marijuana Party candidate, but it will increase the reach of the party and it's candidate in the next contest.
"And while we're at it, even if you think no one on a ballot is worth voting for, you can still cast a blank ballot. Returning officers are required to take account of all ballots, even spoiled and blank ones.
"Or think of it this way: In Guelph in 2008, 35 per cent of eligible voters stayed at home. Imagine if that 35 per cent put their vote behind a single candidate, becuase Frank Valeriote only one this riding by 32.22 per cent of the vote. Even without the pre-existing support for the other nine candidates in the race, that one person, supported by all those that didn't vote, could have won the race."
"Yeah, but I don't know the issues. I don't keep up with the news."
At this point you bow to the absurd. Do we not live in the information age? Isn't centuries worth of human knowledge a few key strokes and an internet connection away? Andy Rooney once did a 60 Minutes commentary telling people not to vote, and while his points are valid, there's nothing really encouraging in there to turn people around on the subject of getting off their butts and going to the polling station. We've seen the TV images for weeks of the extent people around the world are going to in order to have an iota of the freedom so many of us take for granted, and if that's not enough to make you get more involved I'm afraid nothing will.