News Opinions

Getting Direction from the Vote Compass

By Dhruva Balram – April 22, 2011

On the day I turned 18, I went to the closest convenience store to my house in Toronto and bought a lottery ticket and a Hustler magazine legally. When I turned 19, I bought a packet of cigarettes and a bottle of rum legally, just because I could. I’ve taken advantage of my legality in many ways, but the one thing I still haven’t done in my legal status is probably the most important – I haven’t voted.
Since I was here in Halifax during the Toronto mayoral election in 2010, when Rob Ford unfortunately won, I was genuinely excited when I learned there would be a federal election. I am not the most politically involved person; I try to be, but my apathy gets in the way. After the announcement though, I decided to research more on the political parties’ stance and learn more on the ridings in the Halifax district.
I was raised pretty liberally and assumed I would lean that way. I decided to try the CBC Vote Compass to see what it says. Apparently, I lean right on economic issues, and I’m more socially conservative than liberal. The party it said I should vote for? Liberal. This didn’t come as much of a surprise for me. But for others, the Vote Compass gave some unanticipated results.
Simon Kaplan, a second-year King’s student, also got Liberal. “I’m probably going to vote for the Green Party though,” says Kaplan. Liz Johnston, in her final year at King’s, was also a victim of the Vote Compass’ misfortune telling. It told her she aligned with the Green Party, but Johnston has a different view. “I’d probably vote NDP – Megan Leslie – if I were in Halifax,” said Johnston.
Some people say the Vote Compass is rigged to give people Liberal, but to me, that’s not the issue. It just seems like another procrastination tool; I don’t know if it will actually make young people vote. Either way, the compass should not influence one’s decision in an election of this stature. It’s meant to give people an idea of the different parties position on issues, more like a jumping off point. My best advice is to research the parties independently and go vote on May 2 for who you think would be the best party for the future.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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