I voted today.
Rolling into the parking lot at just about noon, I expected to be first in line at my local advance poll. But apparently there were a lot of electoral keeners at the Salvation Army on Cariboo Road today, so I was about a half-dozen people back in line.
The resulting wait gave me enough time to ponder this whole process of voting.
My random musings as I stood there:
1. How many sheets of paper does Elections Canada use in a national election? Seriously. The lists upon lists upon lists-of-lists upon lists-directing-you-to-more-lists seems more than slightly overwhelming. I can only imagine the recycling involved after this whole thing is over.
2. Would this not be way more efficient if we used technology? Waiting for volunteers to flip through above-mentioned lists upon lists-of-lists (etc.) is tedious and time-consuming. (Especially if you happen to have popped out to the polls on your lunch hour, and especially if you happen to have left your voter card at home. Ahem.) I can easily imagine a less-committed voter just turning tail and not coming back – and that’s the last thing we want to have happen.
3. What’s to stop me from voting again? (Besides the fact that it’s clearly illegal, obviously.) But if I turned up at my local polling station on voting day, how would anyone know? Crossing me off of one paper list doesn’t appear to control very much at all. See point #2, above: Technology could make this process more secure, as well as more efficient.
4. Where have all the young folks gone? OK, it was noon on a workday, so I guess I can excuse the absence of millennials and Gen Xers on this particular day, but I was the youngest soul in the room by a decade or three – and I’m not exactly a spring chicken (case in point: I just used the phrase “spring chicken,” which pretty much automatically means I’m not one). Hopefully the under-50 crowd (and even more, the under-30 crowd) plans to turn out over the weekend and on voting day, because today’s crowd suggests that, so far, the 65-and-up demographic is going to determine the fate of our nation. Again.
5. Elections Canada needs to give voters a reward. I like to be rewarded. I want a sticker for my troubles. In fact, I gave myself a sticker when I got back to my office. It made me feel good.
6. Voting is fun. Yup. Twenty-seven years after I cast my very first ballot, I still like the whole thing. Walking in to the church hall/school gym/community hall, having a smiling person find your name on a list, taking your ballot into the cardboard station, marking your X on your little tiny piece of paper, popping said paper into the slot on top of the ballot box: it’s all just oddly satisfying. More people need to do it.
Which brings me to my last and final point:
7. VOTE. I don’t care who you vote for (well, I do, really, but that’s an aside). I care that you care. That you take part in the process. That you decide for yourself who you think will best represent you in Ottawa and who will best lead Canada into the future, the way you want Canada to be led. And that you get your butt out there this weekend to the advance polls, or on Election Day, and mark that X on your little piece of paper. It’s easy. It’s (hopefully) quick. And it’s your right, and your responsibility, as a citizen of this amazing country of ours.
So what are you waiting for? Go mark an X. And sit back with me and watch the results unfold on Oct. 19, knowing that - for better or for worse - you have done your bit for democracy.
I'll even give you a sticker for your trouble.