Help change the world: vote

I’ll be voting and you should too.

It’s election year this year and you might have just become old enough to vote. It can be a scary world, finally realising that you’re old enough to actually influence our government in some small way, but you should definitely do so.

While we are some months away from the election, now is the time to start thinking about and researching what party best aligns with you.

But, you say, all of the parties are the same! What’s the point in voting if they don’t do anything?

While I can’t necessarily disagree with you about the slowness of some governmental processes, it’s a naive statement to believe that all parties are the same. We live in a country where we are given the privilege to vote for a variety of diverse candidates and it is important to utilise that. Fence-sitting is just not good enough in a world where, as the case may be, not voting can lead to the erasure of necessary laws and freedoms that keep us all safe.

Take America, for example. Although we do not have the same voting system as they do, the election of a dangerous candidate to the presidency has led to a lot of dangerous governmental processes being put into place.

Roughly 40 percent of eligible voters in America didn’t vote in their last election, and the election results could have swayed if they had.

Hell, even in New Zealand in our last election only 77 percent of eligible voters did vote, which is the lowest turnout there has ever been since before women got the right to vote in the 1880s.

It’s not good enough, New Zealand. We have a privilege a whole ton of countries don’t have and we don’t use it. Voting in New Zealand is easy. I turned 18 last election day and I was in Auckland and yet it still only took me about 10 minutes to get everything sorted so I could vote. I even saw a B-list Kiwi celebrity at the polls, but that is a story for another time.

Because young people like lists or something, here’s five reasons why you should vote this election day.

1. Honour our legacy. New Zealand was the first self-governing colony in the world to give women the right to vote and we shouldn’t just stomp that legacy into the ground.

2. It’s your right. As I said earlier, some people don’t have the right to vote. Especially, if you’re female-identifying, significantly more people around the world like you can’t vote. Use the power you have and help make a difference.

3. Now, youths, this one’s for you. A lot of ‘older people’ (and by that I mean adults who have Minion profile pictures and complain about things on the NZ Herald Facebook page), believe that people our age are lazy. They believe that we’re entitled and we complain too much without doing anything about it. Don’t let their preconceived notions of millennials and Gen Z sway you against voting. The youth vote is one of the hardest to get in NZ, and you shouldn’t let annoying people be smug because you didn’t vote. Come on, you can take 10 minutes out of your busy life and go to the polling booths.

4. Voting does actually change things. See how the National government was elected in 2008? That was the doing of voters. If enough people vote for the other majority party this year then they won’t be re-elected. Look at the Marriage Amendment Bill that allowed same-sex marriage that was passed in 2013. That was the doing of voters. Although they weren’t voters like you and me, and instead voters within the government, these people still exercised their democratic right to make a difference in our country. Although things may not go your way this election cycle, sooner or later, with enough voting, things probably will.

5. And finally, a lot of election issues directly involve youth. There are many parties whose policies talk about changing the minimum wage, changing the drinking age, helping tertiary students with tuition, anti-bullying in schools and many more. If you vote for parties that support causes and things that affect you, you contribute to helping yourself and helping others like you.

If you don’t understand how our voting system works, do some Googling. The Elections NZ site has excellent resources and will help you out. Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your teachers. Give a damn.

Although the government is not flawless and never will be, sitting on your ass is not going to help. Not all of the parties are the same and there are parties that you can vote for that support the things you care about. Don’t be a fence-sitter.

Help change the world. Go out and vote.

I’ll be voting and you should too.

It’s election year this year and you might have just become old enough to vote. It can be a scary world, finally realising that you’re old enough to actually influence our government in some small way, but you should definitely do so.

While we are some months away from the election, now is the time to start thinking about and researching what party best aligns with you.

But, you say, all of the parties are the same! What’s the point in voting if they don’t do anything?

While I can’t necessarily disagree with you about the slowness of some governmental processes, it’s a naive statement to believe that all parties are the same. We live in a country where we are given the privilege to vote for a variety of diverse candidates and it is important to utilise that. Fence-sitting is just not good enough in a world where, as the case may be, not voting can lead to the erasure of necessary laws and freedoms that keep us all safe.

Take America, for example. Although we do not have the same voting system as they do, the election of a dangerous candidate to the presidency has led to a lot of dangerous governmental processes being put into place.

Roughly 40 percent of eligible voters in America didn’t vote in their last election, and the election results could have swayed if they had.

Hell, even in New Zealand in our last election only 77 percent of eligible voters did vote, which is the lowest turnout there has ever been since before women got the right to vote in the 1880s.

It’s not good enough, New Zealand. We have a privilege a whole ton of countries don’t have and we don’t use it. Voting in New Zealand is easy. I turned 18 last election day and I was in Auckland and yet it still only took me about 10 minutes to get everything sorted so I could vote. I even saw a B-list Kiwi celebrity at the polls, but that is a story for another time.

Because young people like lists or something, here’s five reasons why you should vote this election day.

1. Honour our legacy. New Zealand was the first self-governing colony in the world to give women the right to vote and we shouldn’t just stomp that legacy into the ground.

2. It’s your right. As I said earlier, some people don’t have the right to vote. Especially, if you’re female-identifying, significantly more people around the world like you can’t vote. Use the power you have and help make a difference.

3. Now, youths, this one’s for you. A lot of ‘older people’ (and by that I mean adults who have Minion profile pictures and complain about things on the NZ Herald Facebook page), believe that people our age are lazy. They believe that we’re entitled and we complain too much without doing anything about it. Don’t let their preconceived notions of millennials and Gen Z sway you against voting. The youth vote is one of the hardest to get in NZ, and you shouldn’t let annoying people be smug because you didn’t vote. Come on, you can take 10 minutes out of your busy life and go to the polling booths.

4. Voting does actually change things. See how the National government was elected in 2008? That was the doing of voters. If enough people vote for the other majority party this year then they won’t be re-elected. Look at the Marriage Amendment Bill that allowed same-sex marriage that was passed in 2013. That was the doing of voters. Although they weren’t voters like you and me, and instead voters within the government, these people still exercised their democratic right to make a difference in our country. Although things may not go your way this election cycle, sooner or later, with enough voting, things probably will.

5. And finally, a lot of election issues directly involve youth. There are many parties whose policies talk about changing the minimum wage, changing the drinking age, helping tertiary students with tuition, anti-bullying in schools and many more. If you vote for parties that support causes and things that affect you, you contribute to helping yourself and helping others like you.

If you don’t understand how our voting system works, do some Googling. The Elections NZ site has excellent resources and will help you out. Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your teachers. Give a damn.

Although the government is not flawless and never will be, sitting on your ass is not going to help. Not all of the parties are the same and there are parties that you can vote for that support the things you care about. Don’t be a fence-sitter.

Help change the world. Go out and vote.

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