by The Baddest Bitch, Peach Cobblah, East Van’s Cheapest Date
October 20. It’s a vital day in this city. Not just because my homo hip-hop party, Hustla, will be happening at The Emerald, though that can be where you come celebrate once you’ve done your job as a Vancouverite. Your job isn’t going to work, paying your terrifyingly high rent bill, then getting black out drunk to cope. I’m not saying that’s not what you do, you do you however you want to do it, but the job I’m talking about involves showing up at a polling station and giving yourself the time to read through all the candidates and vote.
You don’t want to rush this process or you’re going to find yourself standing in line getting sweaty and antsy because you’re going to be late for a date, or a meeting, or picking up your kids. Or because the liquor store is going to close. Plan ahead! Like a good meal, this can’t be rushed. In this year’s election we have a whopping 159 candidates vying for 27 elected positions. This requires a bit of work, but we’re Vancouverites, we know how to work. God knows, we have enough jobs to help support our lavish West Coast lifestyle (mmmm $11 avocado toast), so we are well-versed in a bit of elbow grease. Don’t let the numbers deter you: on October 20, you will sift through the 21 mayoral candidates, 71 city council candidates, 33 parks board candidates and (perhaps most importantly, in my humble opinion) 34 school board trustee candidates. So make decisions that will shape our Vancouver today, and the Vancouver of the next generation. Maybe I’ve gone soft because this sweaty monstrosity of a drag queen became a dad in January, but the kind of future we start shaping now is at the forefront of my wig, uh, I mean mind.
So how do you prepare? How do you figure out which of these names (in random order this year, btw, not alphabetical, so make sure you really read through) most align with your own politics? Better still: have you taken the time to figure out what matters to you about this city? It’s not a test, you won’t fail. There isn’t a wrong answer. Like if you love partying on the weekend, maybe you’re concerned about diminishing gathering spaces and the limitations on liquor licenses for community events. That feels like a very NoFunCity concern. Or if you like hanging out at the beach, then maybe you’re concerned about protecting green spaces. What do you like about life here, and how do you want to preserve that or shift something to make the city more accessible or eventful or safe or sustainable. Or all of the above.
Step One: Figure out what matters to you.
Step Two: Spend some time on the Election 2018 page of City of Vancouver’s website (https://vancouver.ca/your-government/2018-election.aspx) to see each candidate and whose politics and priorities align with your own, recently discovered civic viewpoints. The website lists their 3 top priorities very clearly as well as their platform and a bio.
Step Three: Some of these candidates are connected to civic parties that have a shared platform and you can consult those parties’ websites for a more detailed understanding of how those candidates could work together to help shift our city for the better.
Step Four: I know a lot of you don’t have kids in your lives, however I’m not kidding when I talk about how important voting for School Board Trustees is. Because this is how we shape the future of our city. So don’t skip that category because the younger generation of changemakers need vibrant and safe environments in which to thrive and grow into our future leaders and voters. Particular shout out to the huge importance of making schools inclusive and safe for students of all sexual orientations and gender identities (SOGI). It’s 2018 and I can’t take seriously any candidate that is trying to prevent kids from being safe in their own schools. Fun fact: this year the city is running an election for kids! As a means to get them into the spirit of elections, kids under 18 can fill out a ballot and vote on three questions about their city and the role they want to play in it! Bring democracy to the children!
Step Five: Make it fun! Voting is serious business, but don’t let it feel like a chore. Celebrate that you’re doing something for your city and one another. Organize a voting party – you can all go to the polling station together and then sip bubbles and talk about the sophisticated civic-minded allstar you are.
In fact, come join me at the Emerald and we will raise a glass together and celebrate the fact that whether we agree on everything or not, regardless of who we voted for, we used the power of our voice. Something not everyone on this planet has. So let’s not be dicks who take it for granted and just say “oh, shit, was that today?” or “I just want to finish the new season of Ozark instead.”
Because you know what doesn’t get you laid? Apathy.