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From Where I Sit

It's election time again

With less than 11 days until Saskatchewan'ites' hit the polls, do you know who you are voting for?

More importantly, with less than 11 days until the election, are you on the voters list?

It always amazes me the number of people that do not vote. Time and time again, as the election numbers come in and dismal numbers are presented as the voters turnout, I am surprised.

I'm not sure why I continue to be surprised as year after year, the results are similar. But this year is expected to be one of the worst years for voter turnout.

In May of this year, the federal election saw a voter turnout of just over 60 percent of eligible voters. The last election in Saskatchewan saw a voter turnout of 76 percent, significantly higher than the federal statistics.

But as residents throughout Canada take to the voting polls as provincial elections are held, this year is turning out to be one of the lowest turnouts in history.

Manitoba residents, who went to the polls on Oct. 4 saw a voter turnout of only 57 percent. Ontario, who went to the polls only two days later, saw a turnout of less than half of their possible voting public. Less than half!

It's amazing really. American Idol can see more than 178 million votes come in in a matter of hours. Those that watch the show spend hours repeatedly voting so that they can be part of the group that determines who the next singing sensation will be. And here in Canada, the public won't even visit the polls to determine who will lead their country or their province through the next four years.

Sure, American Idol sees votes come in via text messaging, by online voting and one can even call their vote in. And sure, people don't even have to leave their houses to make their opinion known, but is that really an excuse?

When did having a say in a provincial or federal election lose its importance. On Election Day, regular polling places are open from 9 am to 8 pm. If that doesn't work for you, advance polls are open during Nov. 1 to 4 from 3 to 10 p.m. and on Nov 5. from 12 to 7 p.m.

Not only can you vote during those times, but absentee voting exists for those voters that are unable to vote on Election Day or during any one of the several advance polling days.

Not only that, but for those individuals with special conditions, a number of special voting provisions are set in place to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to vote.

It's not like residents don't have options during the Canadian election. In fact, there were six registered political parties in Saskatchewan as of Sept. 23, 2011. There is representation from the Green Party as well as the New Democratic Party (N.D.P.). The P.C. Party of Saskatchewan is represented, as is the Saskatchewan Liberal Party. The Saskatchewan Party has its place on the ballot, as does the Western Independence Party (W.I.P.). In this region alone, there are candidates from four of the possible six political parties wishing to represent your views.

Whether you are right winged or left winged or whatever your political sway, representatives are out there that represent your values and morals. They represent your viewpoint. It is up to you to get out there and vote for them.

In Canada, voting is a right. It is a privilege to be able to walk into a building, mark a ballot and have a say in who will become your future representative.

People in developing countries spend days waiting in line in order to vote. They spend days! Many Canadians won't even take the few hours required to go to the voting poll and vote.

The Saskatchewan election will take place on Nov. 7 and will serve as the 27th general election. Hopefully, the prediction of many analysts won't come true. Hopefully, people will place their vote to ensure that their opinion is counted. Hopefully, one of those votes is yours.