Much has been made of the inaccuracies of pre-election polls in recent years, with the results of elections often veering far off the mark when it came to the final result. Much of that variance has been traced to voters believing it is safe to stay at home, their party of choice leading comfortably in the polls. Heady examples include the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, the latter of whom enjoyed a comfortable lead in the polls prior to the final count. That comfortable lead proved to be an Achilles heel for the Democrats, as many of their voters felt it was safe to sit at home on election day. A more recent example can be found in the results from Nova Scotia, where the incumbent Liberals were expected to waltz to yet another majority—but voter inertia dictated that result was not to be.
There is a reason that elections, not polls, decide who will form a government. It isn’t until the ballots have been tallied and the final verdict is in that the winner is declared.
There are few greater dangers to a democracy than voter apathy.
Low voter turnout might be expected during a global pandemic, but in this election there were plenty of options offered to those electors who did not want to risk going out in public to cast their ballot. Given the many and strict protocols in place at polling stations there is less danger in a stroll to the poll than stopping by a grocery store for bread and milk. There really is no good excuse for opting not to mark your X.
This election has been marred by outrageous behaviour on the part of a small and dangerous minority who espouse themselves as a bulwark for the rights and freedoms of Canadians, but the actions of this minority give lie to their claims—stepping into the tried and true methodology of fascists and oppressive minorities throughout history, violence and intimidation.
How long will it be until, emboldened by their demagogic leadership and successes in shutting down legitimate debate on the campaign trial, these enemies of our democracy will take their odious practices to outside polling stations, just as they have to vaccine sites and leader visits (not to mention abortion clinics).
There will always be those who believe their passions provide them licence to subvert the public will—we must not allow that to happen.
However you choose to cast your ballot, it is vitally important to step up and make your voice be heard, clearly and above the din of demagogues—otherwise, you may well wake up to a morning after regret.