Commentary – Every vote matters! Make yours count!

Richard Froese

Spring is here and the weather is warming up.

As the snow continues to melt, one thing is sure to heat up.

Voters across Alberta go to the polls in a provincial election May 29 as election days are fixed.

Eligible electors have a democratic right to vote in local, provincial and federal elections.

So take advantage of that opportunity – get engaged in the process.

Most of all – vote.

Although the official campaign hasn’t started – it has – unofficially.

In the coming weeks, candidates of all party colours will be hot on the campaign trail.

However, it appears to be a two-horse race as the ruling United Conservative Party (UCP) and the New Democratic Party (NDP) are neck a neck, according to recent opinion polls.

Candidates in the three local electoral divisions will be more than busy in their large rural constituencies.

Voters in the Peace River, Lesser Slave Lake and Central – Peace Notley ridings are encouraged to be part of the democratic process.

Get involved and get active.

Many political experts are calling it the most important – biggest – election in Alberta in many decades.

Isn’t that how all other elections are labelled – the most important?

The upcoming election will be the first after a highly emotional and stressful – and divisive – period in not only the province but around the world.

Albertans were split and divided during the COVID-19 pandemic that started in March 2020.

Now it will be up to voters to elect MLAs and a government that will best rebuild a province on various issues.

Voters will get a say in electing a government to refresh the province after the struggles and turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some people may say that reboot happened after Danielle Smith was elected leader of the UCP and premier-designate last October.

That was only UCP business, not a province-wide process.

In less than seven weeks, Albertans will get to vote for their MLA and the party with the most seats wins and the leader of the winning party becomes the premier – fair and square.

During the election campaign, voters can get engaged in a variety of ways.

Know who the candidates are in your community.

Find out their priorities, pledges and commitments.

Realistically, promises on policy, programs and services are very difficult for individual candidates to keep.

Those priorities would have to align with the government policies and priorities after they are elected.

Some promises may not be realistic from a government perspective.

South Peace News and the Lakeside Leader plan to present candidate profiles in ridings in the newspaper’s coverage area.

Attend an all-candidates’ forum in your community.

Candidates will have opportunity to present their platforms and answer questions from voters.

Time is usually given for people to mingle with candidates in a smaller setting to discuss the issues.

Voters are encouraged to share their priorities and concerns for local issues like health care, education, jobs and training, employment and economic development, social issues and other concerns and find out which candidate and party will respond the best.

People can also volunteer on the campaign in various roles.

Campaign teams are always looking for people to help promote the party candidate in local communities, place election signs, assist at public forums and drive people to and from election polls stations.

Make sure you are eligible to vote.

Be sure you are registered to vote.

And most of all, be sure you vote.

Every vote matters – including yours.

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