Yahoo Canada Insults Elections: Not Smart, and Not Funny

Since I became old enough to vote (which was, er, um, quite a while ago), I’ve voted in every municipal, provincial, and federal election that I’ve been eligible to participate in. I’m a firm believer in the principle of  “if you don’t vote, you can’t complain” – and I know that people in my own country and around the world have fought for the right to vote, which makes voting even more important to me. So I was both sad and angry to see this screen pop up on Yahoo Canada’s website this week:

Yahoo Canada website promotion for 1st Yahoo Awards: “Just like an election, but fun…and interesting. And you can win stuff.” (Credit: Yahoo Canada, ca.yahoo.com)

So elections are boring and unexciting? Maybe Yahoo Canada should talk to some of the people in other countries who can’t vote in elections at all, or who can only vote in elections with rigged outcomes, or whose voting rights are being taken away on questionable grounds (like some voters right next door in the United States). Or maybe Yahoo Canada could look at Canada’s own history of voting rights, where it took until 1951 for women to have the right vote in every province and territory, and until 1962 for First Nations people to have the right to vote in federal elections. Would any of those disenfranchised people call elections dull or a waste of time?

Yahoo’s characterization of elections as not “fun” and not “interesting” is a slap in the face to everyone who appreciates being able to vote – and it’s an even more inappropriate  characterization when voter turnout in Canada is dropping among many demographic groups.

And guess what, Yahoo? You get “stuff” when you vote in elections that don’t have categories like “Ultimate Scandal” or “Social Media Star”. You don’t get smartphones or e-book readers – you get something much better. You get a voice, and you get to use it to influence how your country, province or city works. That should be celebrated, not insulted.

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