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Opinion: The top 10 worst types of voters

piquen voters
As Canadians head to the polls on September 20, everyone has a duty to do their homework to make an informed decision.

One of Canada’s most hallowed democratic traditions is that anybody can and should be able to vote. I’m not so sure about that anymore. 

Now the writ is dropped, campaigns are underway and voters are being courted by parties and candidates in a way that would be flattering if it wasn’t so cynical and manipulative, the facts subtly twisted in effort to score imaginary points. Just a week in, I already feel the need to install an eyewash station in my living room. 

The sad part about negative modern campaigning is that it works. The complexities of politics are being reduced to personalities and a few hot-button issues guaranteed to arouse fear and anger in the public—most of it irrelevant to the job that candidates are applying for. “Makes effective personal attacks” and “Gaslights professionally” shouldn’t be on anyone’s resume.

But while better politics and politicians may be too much to hope for, I still have hope that a majority of voters will take this seriously enough to get the right result. That said, there are a few types of voters we can do without:

1. The “Is There An Election Today?” Voter: Low-energy, low-information ballot checkers. May make up their mind a fraction of a second before ticking the box, possibly based on the opinions of other people they overheard talking about the election the day before. Do your research, people!

2. The Legacy Voter: “My great-granddaddy always voted Conservative/Liberal, and I do too!” Party loyalty is the opposite of democracy, where you’re supposed to honestly weigh the options and make the best decision for you and your family. 

3. The Punisher: Votes against things and people rather than in favour of the things they believe in. More and more it feels like anger is the driving force in Canadian politics. If you ever wished death upon Trudeau or Harper or any politician then you might want to sit this one out—you have a dangerous addiction to politics that is raising your stress level and will put you in an early grave (after making you hugely unpopular with your friends and family).

4. The Superficial: Trudeau’s famous name and hairstyle. O’Toole’s tight T-shirt. If you make political decisions based on, or opposed to, a person’s appearance then you’re doing this wrong. You’re also guaranteeing that the politicians of the future will be judged on things like gender, ethnicity, height, looks, the sound of their voice, etc., rather than their ideas and intelligence. This is not American Idol.

5. The “All Or Nothing” Voter: Every election is THE most important election ever, the very fate of the country hangs in the balance! Can often be heard saying they’re moving to Sweden/Texas if the other candidate wins. Also like to compare democratically elected people to dictators, fascists, Nazis, communists, and other political extremists. Easily influenced by conspiracy theories.

6. The “It Doesn’t Matter Who You Vote For Because They’re All The Same” Woke Non-Voter: If people really believe this then they’re not paying attention. They are probably also easily influenced by conspiracy theories.

7. The “You Have To Win My Vote” Self-Proclaimed Swing Voter Who Always Votes The Same Way In The End: This is relatively common. I have these in my family. The reality is that most people have already picked a team (The Legacy Voter) and that every election is decided by a handful of genuine swing voters, occasional voters who don’t always show up, and previous non-voters that were somehow moved to cast a ballot. A huge number of seats in Canada are “safe” and almost never switch parties, even though a lot of people will pretend to be open-minded until they get to the voting booth.

8. The Single-Issue Voter: Typically issues like guns and abortion. There are literally a thousand different things going on in Canada, but if all that drags you to the polls on Sept. 20 is Bill C-21 then thanks, but no thanks for your vote—the world is literally on fire as we’re taking on record levels of public debt. All politics are personal, but that doesn’t mean they have to be shallow and narrow-minded as well.

9. The “Why Bother?” Voter: This is a variation of the Woke Voter, and applies to all the people who live in “safe” ridings where the same party always wins. Even if that’s not going to change in this election, showing up to vote at least lets politicians know that people are paying attention, keeping them honest and engaged at the local level. Safe-seat politicians are literally the worst of the worst because they know they will never be held accountable by the voters.

10. The “I Voted” Voter: Wears an “I Voted” sticker and posts a selfie from outside the polling station. They always want to know who you voted for, which is none of their business. Politics has become way too personal these days to the point where it’s splintering families and friendships. Instead of being the 10th most important thing in your life behind family, work, friends, community, sports, health, hopes, dreams and plans, politics have become a dominant force in our lives to nobody’s net benefit. Stop asking, stop telling, change the subject. Make politics boring again.

Left off the list is the Strategic Voter, who never votes for what they want because they are more concerned with making sure the “wrong” person doesn’t get in than voting for who they want—a softer version of The Punisher. I left it off because we have so far failed as a nation to embrace proportional voting, and it’s nobody’s fault when they have to vote strategically on occasion.

Obviously I’m not seriously advocating that people stay home on Sept. 20, but I’m asking that people look a little deeper into the issues, look into the candidates, read the platforms, weigh the whole of those platforms against the very real problems facing Canada and the world, and make an informed decision. See you at the polls.