Brantford municipal elections soon upon us.

I once heard a Brantford native describe the city as a battle between the “haves” and the “have-nots”.  

He was irate at the state of the transportation system in this city; on various occasions he had waited over an hour for a bus to arrive, or had stood at a stop only for a bus to not show up, or had stood at a stop that was no longer in service without being made aware of any such changes.  

He criticised the governance of our current municipal system and accused our municipal representatives of prioritizing certain wards over others and certain people over others.   

“But, I can’t just be mad about it, I can’t just talk about it, that’s why you and I got to vote,” he said.

I’ve heard many conversations along these lines: Brantford citizens being criticising their government and the way it runs things. But whether your grief is with the state of the transportation system, the maintenance of roads downtown, or what services have been allotted with a certain amount of budget, we can all agree that we are not going to see any types of changes in this city unless we vote.  

Why should you vote? 

Voting is the most powerful and democratic way of having your voice heard. Where you place your vote tells your municipality, your government, your institution, exactly where you stand on certain issues. 

If this is your first time voting as someone who may have just turned 18, you are not too young. If anything, the fact that you are voting at such a young age lets your representative know that you are an active constituent whose voice needs to be heard and whose needs need to be met along with everybody else’s. 

If you are temporarily residing in Brantford while you attend college or university, you are allowed to vote if your name appears on the voters’ list. 

A lot of the time, the argument is, “well, I don’t agree with anyone’s platforms, so I’m just not going to vote”. 

Nope, because there are ways of legitimately spoiling your ballot (i.e. casting a blank ballot) that lets your government know that you are not satisfied with any of the platforms or candidates, and that is a powerful way of having your voice heard instead of throwing your vote away.  

How can you vote? 

First, please ensure that you are registered to vote. You can register yourself as a Brantford voter for the municipal election at voterlookup.ca.  

According to the BrantordVotes website, if any of your personal information has changed since the last election (i.e. last name or address) you can amend that information during the voters’ list revision period, which will begin Tuesday, September 4 and end on election day, Monday, October 22, with online voting beginning October 1.  

During this time, voters can visit City Hall and correct their personal information, or voters may add themselves to the list if they are not currently registered as Brantford voters.  

Even if you had updated your information with Elections Ontario for the provincial election that took place on June 7, 2018, you must also update your information with the city of Brantford. 

No revisions or additions can occur online or over the phone with city representatives – all changes must be made in person at City Hall.  

Who is eligible to vote? 

You are entitled to vote in the Municipal Election if, on voting day, you: 

  • Reside in the local municipality 
  • Are the owner or tenant of land here, or the spouse of an owner or tenant 
  • Are a Canadian citizen 
  • Are at least 18 years old 
  • Are not prohibited from voting by law 

Election day is October 22, polls open at 10 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. For more information please go to brantfordvotes.brantford.ca  

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