They say all politics is local. As we’ve previously written, at The Local Good, we believe engagement with local politics is an extension of living locally.
Although we’re a nonpartisan organization, we think informed active participation in our democracy is crucially important — especially among voters under the age of 40, who are historically less likely to vote than their elders. In fact, according to Elections Alberta, fewer than five per cent of voters in the recent provincial byelections were between the ages of 18 to 24 (compare that to the youth labour stats for 2014, which put 15- to 24-year-olds at 16 per cent of the population.). Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of Alberta electors of all ages are expected to vote on May 5.
Here are six helpful websites that you can use to get informed before voting:
1. Visit elections.ab.ca to find out if you’re registered, where to vote and answers to your questions about the electoral process. Elections Alberta is also running a youth voting campaign that includes using the Twitter hashtag #ChooseYourAlberta.
If you didn’t register to vote before the April 25 deadline, no big deal! According to voterlink.ab.ca, “You may also register in person at advance polls from April 29 to May 2 or on polling day May 5. When registering in person, please bring identification that proves your identity and address.”
2. The Council of Alberta University Students have launched their Get Out The Vote campaign. The University of Alberta Get Out The Vote page states, “If students want governments to listen to their concerns about increasing tuition fees, increasing non-instructional fees, decreasing quality in our classrooms, decreasing scholarship and bursary programs and other student concerns, they must demonstrate their interest in the decisions governments are making regarding the post-secondary education system. To influence future governments’ decisions regarding post-secondary education and student concerns we need to stand up and be counted and cast our vote in elections.”
If you’re a university student in Alberta, you can pledge to vote and sign up for reminder messages at getoutthevote.ca.
3. Vote Compass is an interactive tool created by the CBC with the help of Vox Pop Labs and the University of Calgary that will help you determine which provincial political party’s platform most closely aligns with your views; they also have a daily polling question. So far, more than 150,000 people have tried it, according to @MyCBCYEG on Twitter.
4. & 5. are related: 1abvote.ca have written about collaboration between political parties, are now encouraging strategic voting in support of centre-left political parties, and are predicting likely winners based on online polling; this is changealberta.ca‘s second election of predicting likely winners and advocating for strategic voting. Regardless of whether you are a strategic voter or even a centre-left voter, the forecasts on these two websites of which candidates are most likely to do well in your riding will interest you.
6. Dave Cournoyer’s comprehensive candidate list includes links to all their websites and social media accounts, so you can read up on their positions before you choose who you’ll vote for — and get in touch with a candidate’s volunteer team if you need help getting to your polling station. Dave also wrote a helpful how-to-vote post on Wednesday that you should check out, and has great summaries and critiques of campaign and polling news on his indispensable blog.
Remember, the only poll that counts happens on May 5! Don’t forget to vote!