#Election2019: Fall River-area first-time voters cast ballot to make a difference in their communities

Linell Vonkeman became a Canadian citizen last year so she was excited to vote in the Oct. 21 election. Both her and husband Hermen voted together in Fall River. (Submitted photo)

BEAVER BANK: Maryssa Deveau voted in Monday’s federal election because she wanted to make a difference and not stand back and watch it all happen.

The Beaver Bank woman was one of three first-time voters that spoke with The Laker who cast their ballots on Oct. 21 in the federal election for a candidate in the Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook riding.

Deveau, 18, has just recently become of voting age. Instead of not voting as some of her peers decided to do, she wanted to take action on what she wanted to see happen.

“I felt it was important to vote because I wanted to take action on the change that I want,” said Deveau. “I didn’t just want to sit back and watch it all happen without being able to make a difference. To me voting is one way to help make a difference.”

Beaver Bank’s Maryssa Deveau was one of the many in the riding who cast their ballots for their first-time in a federal election. Three of those first-time voters spoke to The Laker. (Submitted photo)

She said she came to the decision on who she was voting for by learning about what each party was promising with their platform, but also learning about who was running in her area, as they will be the main ones affecting my community and the changes that happen in it.

“In the lead up to the election I have put in a lot of time to doing research on the different party’s,” she said.

Katie Miller and friend Haleigh Tone, both of Fall River, voted together. They did so because, as they say, ‘as students, whoever leads our country for this term will determine our future.’

“Our generation may not care now, but four years down the road, they definitely will,” said Miller and Tone.

Both were forthcoming with who they voted for—candidate Matt Stickland and the NDP. They said that the NDP’s platform mostly aligned with our views.

“The NDP cares a lot about students in Canada, lower class families and health care,” said Miller. “We feel very strongly about these issues and we feel that NDP would be able to help move that agenda forward.”

Katie Miller and Haleigh Tone, both of Fall River, were among first-time voters who spoke to The Laker about why they wanted to ensure they voted in the Oct. 21 federal election. (Submitted photo)

Miller said it was challenging for her and Tone to decide who to vote for when they felt like they were being pushed towards certain parties.

“We decided to choose for who we believed in the most,” said Miller. “It was a hard choice but we think we made the right one.”

The two did have some tips they hope future voters will heed.

“Don’t let the people around you pressure you into voting for a party,” said the two. “Do your own research and figure out which party best suits your views.”

Linell Vonkeman became a Canadian citizen last year and was excited about making her mark on a ballot this year.

“I didn’t get to vote in my home country of South Africa’s election earlier this year and in 2014, so voting this year was a no-brainer,” she told The Laker. “In Canadian history there have been too many people who fought for the right to vote that it would be unfair for us to just take this privilege for granted.”

Emily Saulnier, 20, voted for the first time when she went to the LWF Hall in Fall River on Election Day. She said she watched each of the debates; interviews and researched to find out which party she wanted to choose. Saulnier found the process difficult. (Submitted photo)

Fall River resident Emily Saulnier said she watched each of the debates; interviews and researched to find out which party she wanted to choose.

”I found it extremely important for me to be able to cast a vote,” said Saulnier. “As a women and a persons with a disability I was able to have a voice and have an opinion. Especially as a first time voter I was able to actually have a say instead of older people having one for me.”

Does Deveau have any advice for future first-time voters? She sure does.

“Do your research on the party’s, who’s running in your area and who’s the leader of each party,” she said. “It’s only good to vote when you know what your voting for.”

Saulnier did have a few words of advice for those who will be casting their ballots in future elections.

“I want them to fight for their future,” she said. “Become well educated on every party.”