Make your vote count

Make your vote count

The Ontario government has committed to providing municipalities with the option of using ranked ballots in future elections, starting in 2018, as an alternative to the current system. Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review/Postmedia Network file photo – Ray Spiteri,Ray Spiteri/Niagara Falls Review

The vote is precious. It’s almost sacred, so go out and vote like you never have before. (John Lewis)

It is important we all vote. As seniors we need to participate in the Oct. 22, election and make our vote count.

With what is happening in Niagara this will be a very important election, for regional, local councils and school boards. It is important we elect representatives that will work to make Niagara the best it can be.

Joe Barkovich in his article Fired Up Electorate Needed, offered this advice “A well informed, politically aware and active electorate is what’s needed in my home town Welland and right across Niagara.”

Seniors can make a difference in election out comes, because the 65-plus represent 21.39 per cent of Niagara’s population.(Living In Niagara 2017)

Elections Canada reports that across Canada, seniors get out and cast their ballots at a higher rate than any other age group. Let’s make an extra effort to increase the senior and all voters this election.

The volunteer led Age-Friendly Niagara Network has prepared a fact sheet to help engage Niagara residents and municipal candidates about the issues effecting all of us as we age. The fact sheet was sent to over 400 candidates running for public office in Niagara this election. Engage candidates regarding their awareness of the Niagara Age-Friendly Community Project and issues that effect the every day life of older adults. Leadership is an unprecedented opportunity for political and community champions to take up the age-friendly communities cause, and for candidates to make it part of their platform as some have.

Three Niagara municipalities (St Catharines, Thorold and Welland) have recently received provincial awards for their local age-friendly achievements.

Candidates have declared their interest in servicing our communities as elected officials and yes senior candidates will be well represented.

The Niagara Aging Strategy and Action Plan initiative solicited input from the community and developed the following vision statement : “A caring community that optimizes opportunities for overall well being to enhance quality of life as people age.” To reach this vision requires the support of our political leaders.

By the time you read this article we will be hearing political speeches and debates, candidates will be knocking at our door with campaign literature, lawn signs will be out and we will be reading newspaper ads and viewing TV commercials. These are all important as it helps voters understand the candidate’s positions on issues that affect our lives and the way we vote.

Members of A Better Niagara have held workshops to interest and offer tips on running for public office with an unexpected number attending and interested in serving our communities.

We need to commend those who run for public office. As voters we need to be more responsible and get out and vote and be thankful to live in a democratic country that allows us to choose our political leaders through the ballet.

In our last municipal election in Niagara (2014) our eligible voter turnout was 41.3 per cent. with the highest turnout Niagara-on-the-Lake 48.5 per cent and the lowest St. Catharines 34.3 per cent ( Living in Niagara 2017).

Niagara needs to do better Niagara can do better.

Election Ontario is committed to making it easier for people to vote especially for older adults and those with disabilities.

“Election Ontario is committed to removing voting barriers faced by Ontarians and making the election process more accessible for all voters. We offer information about voting in over 30 languages, and provide assistive voting technology, assist at the polls, and voting by mail, home visit or in hospital to all Ontario electors to make voting as easy as possible.

You can find more information about these voting options on our website:

We’re always looking for ways to make voting easier, and welcome feedback about accessibility of voting in Ontario. We can be reached by email at or by phone at 1-888-668-8683 (TTY: 1-888-292-2312).

Doug Rapelje, former director Region social services and senior citizens department, member Age-Friendly Leadership Council

Source: St. Catharines Standard