VoteKit LIVE!: The comic strip – Part 2

21 Oct 2013

By Sam Hester |

So, I’ve been a bit distracted over the past week or two by the arrival of this really great new baby in my household. But even throughout all this time, I can’t help but be aware that there’s a civic election happening (October 21st). Since I was fortunate enough to get involved with this team of volunteers who created VoteKit – a local non-partisan initiative that is geared towards encouraging Calgarians to get out to the polls – I seem to have been hearing a lot of talk about why people don’t vote. 

There are lots of reasons people don’t vote (including my own, which I wrote about in this comics post). But one reason that seems to keep coming up is that people don’t feel they’re informed enough. For example, a person might not vote for their city councillor because they don’t feel they know enough about the candidates and wouldn’t want to influence the outcome of the election with an uninformed contribution. (Well-intentioned, I guess, but sometimes it’s still a good idea just to exercise your right to vote – you know, let the government know that we care about democracy!)

Other non-voters are even less informed – for example, they don’t know what a city councillor is or what a city councillor does. And I’m not just talking about new Canadians who are still getting the hang of this country’s political system. I’m talking about Calgarians who grew up here, went to school, read the news… but still don’t feel they’re on solid ground when it comes to the nuts and bolts of a civic election.

And that’s an awkward spot to be in. How can you ask without feeling silly? Shouldn’t you just magically know this stuff?

The answer is no. There’s no “Civic Politics 101” that’s mandatory for Calgarians of voting age to take at school somewhere (not that I know of, anyway). So don’t feel silly!

Here is a little comic strip for folks who wish they had a better handle on the most basic stuff. Even with three more days until the election, it’s never too late to learn!

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Consult the Municipal Government Act for a fuller description of what the mayor does – according to the MGA, the mayor really is the “CEO” – it just stands for “Chief Elected Official.”

If you want to know more about what city councillors do, you can read this very straightforward (and rather fun to read) post about their job description, on the VoteKit site.