Letter to the editor: Voter Engagement

Dear Editor

What does it take to get voters engaged?  Municipal elections are notorious for poor attendance, yet it is that level of government that affects our lives on a daily basis.  The municipal government have the say in our water quality through our local streams, our air quality, and the living plant life around us – from trees to community gardens.  They decide on public safety with things like sidewalks, bike lanes, policing, and promoting programs like Block Watch.

The population of Langley in 2016 was 117,285 (2016 Census).  The population of Willoughby-Willowbrook is 30,967 (26% – almost 1/3 of the voters in Langley Township).  A May 23, 2018 letter we received from the Township indicates they had 3,166 votes in the last election from Willoughby and it was inferred by the lack of polling places that they expect the same this election.

In a part of the world where we are so lucky to have a say in our government structure, it is most unfortunate that apathy abounds.  And if we, the voters don’t care, we get an equal response from the Township with lack of polling places and election propaganda that numbs us.

I really want to know what it will take to get the people in the Willoughby area to show up – either in the advance polls from October 10 to 18th or on voting day, October 20.  I know, everyone’s busy and it’s hard to find that 15 minutes somewhere on those 9 days.    And to make it more like a game, if I’m reading the website correctly, it appears that the advance polls are going to move around so you can see if you can actually find them. This is the way the TOL likes to tease us instead of encouraging us to be connected.

But let’s show them we are up for the game.  Let’s pick a polling place from: https://www.tol.ca/your-township/elections/2018-elections/   Get your children involved.  Have them direct you to whatever day you find yourself closest to a polling place.  Wouldn’t it be great, Willoughby, if a third of our third – 10,000 of us – got out and voted in this municipal election?  Be engaged.  Be part of the solution.  Be the change you want to see.

And I would, of course, be remiss if I didn’t point out the Willoughby Residents Association is hosting an All Candidates Meeting Oct 11 at 7pm at the Shepherd of the Valley church.   If people want to go beyond just voting, there’s a good place to start to get information.