OPINION: Exercise your right to vote

It has been an election campaign unlike any other, so it only stands to reason that election day this Saturday will also be unlike any other.

An election in a pandemic has forced all of the provincial candidates to campaign in different ways. Gone are many of the in-person events, and whistle stops where candidates shake hands and hugs with well-wishers.

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Gone are the all-candidates forums where citizens can attend in-person, ask questions and hear the opinions of those seeking your vote.

The Zoom platform is the new ‘norm’ with candidates reaching out virtually for discussion, debate and friendly discourse.

Usually on election night, myself and other journalists would be in their respective offices tracking results, while others would be at candidate parties and gatherings for the winning – or losing photo and on the spot interviews.

In my nearly 25 years as a journalist, I’ve lost count of the municipal, provincial and federal elections that I have covered for various community newspapers in this province.

Each election in each community has brought with it different challenges, different faces and different results, which is what makes covering elections so exciting. It’s the unknown that comes into play on election night when you think you have all the answers and then wham – the electorate choses a different path and you finish dead last in your editorial department election night pool.

I’m disappointed that election night thrill will be gone this time around, but one fact remains consistent, the importance of exercising your right to vote.

Since I became of legal voting age, I have voted in every election – be it provincial, federal or municipal. This time is no different.

So if you have voted in advance, thank you. If you have voted by mail in ballot – thank you. And if you are heading to your polling station on Saturday – thank you.

A vote is a precious commodity, and a right that should never be taken for granted.

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