By Aileen Duncan | Photo courtesy of Michelle-Andrea-Girouard, CBC

Ah, nothing like the sweet smell of democracy in the autumn.

What does democracy smells like, you ask? Well, it’s different for everyone. The decision on how to vote is personal, but I’m here to encourage you to cast a vote.

When do I vote?

  • Advance voting is Friday, October 12, 2018.
  • Voting Day is Monday, October 22, 2018.
  • Polls are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What if I’m a student from a different city?

You have choices! You can vote in either municipality. You are supposed to make the decision on where you consider your “home” to be. For example, if you are studying in Ottawa and planning to stay here, you should vote here. If you are planning to return to your previous city, you can travel to vote there or nominate a proxy to vote on your behalf.

What the f*@# is a School Trustee?

They represent the needs of their electoral community in public education systems. They help set policies for school boards and oversee curriculum, facilities, and human and financial resources.

If you care about the Sex Ed curriculum or a school’s response to bullying, then you’ll want to research these candidates.

Is it actually going to make a difference?

If you make an informed decision, it certainly can. Voting shows that you support the candidate’s platform, and (in an ideal world) other politicians will pay attention to this even if your choice doesn’t win.

Especially in wards with several candidates, the margins of victory can be small, and even a few votes can make all the difference.

I’m jaded and still not sold on this voting thing.

Did you know you also have the right to decline or spoil your ballot? It’s not immediately clear how the City of Ottawa accounts for rejected ballots, but it’s a sure sign of voter dissatisfaction. Rejecting your ballot shows that you want to be part of the democratic process, but those darn candidates or that electoral system just aren’t cutting it. But you are still showing that people in your demographic care about the city and its future.

If you’re still not sold, don’t forget to read our 10 “best” reasons to vote!!

I’m having a hard time leaving my home right now.

We get that, and so does the City! Contact the elections office and they’ll help make sure it’s easy for you to vote. The City will even send officials to the sidewalk in front of your door if you need it for reasons like social anxiety or physical barriers.

Top 10 Reasons To Vote

  1. Make your high school civics teacher proud.
  2. The City funds things like buses, snow clearance in the winter, public health, and music grants!
  3. Your landlord and your boss like to vote.
  4. It’s better than having a dictator.
  5. When in line, you could meet a cute, civically engaged person who lives right in your neighbourhood.
  6. Post-vote selfies are social media gold.
  7. It shows you care about your city and your communities.
  8. Politicians pay attention to who votes, and create platforms to appeal to those people.
  9. If you jog to the polling station, it totally counts as your daily exercise.
  10. Public policy is too important to leave to just politicians!