JLS (jlsjlsjls) wrote,

Another item crossed off today's to-do list

Just back from being a good little citizen and exercising my right to bitch about the government. In other words, I've cast my vote in today's federal election. (quick show of hands: did anybody outside Canada know we're voting on our country's reps today? And can any of you name the current prime minister without resorting to Google?)

Since we get to hear about American high tech voting machines (and how many ways they can go wrong) all the time up here, let me treat you to Canadian voting procedure:

About three weeks before the election date, all registered voters get a voter information card in the mail with their name/address on one side and their assigned early and official date voting locations and assigned voting station within those locations on the other (these are all delivered to everyone on the same date). A couple of days later an info leaflet is delivered unto every mailbox and household, informing folks that the cards were sent/delivered and what to do if you didn't get one and should have or if the personal info on the one you received is incorrect.

Polling day it's off to the assigned location; mine today was a school about a block and half from home. Bright yellow signs with the word "vote" and a directional arrow are stuck in the ground by the public sidewalks and on the school grounds to point people towards the correct door and same on the walls inside the school to lead us to the gym; there are also volunteers in the hallway cheerfully greeting people and offering directions in case the vote/arrow signs are too hard to figure out. Where there are eight folding tables set up across the far end of the gym in two rows of four; each of the four tables in the front row has a number on it. Volunteer at the gym door checks voter cards and points people to the table that matches the voting station number on their card (and sends the people whose cards say they should be voting elsewhere off to their correct address). Front row of numbered tables each have two volunteers sitting behind them; one to compare the personal info on your card against your official identification and then find your name on the registered voter list and cross it off and the other to tear your pre-folded ballot out of a little book (they look like raffle tickets), hand it to you (but not until/unless the voting booth is free) and then send you to the folding table that is behind them. This is the voting booth ... a folding table with a folded cardboard screen (about a half-metre tall) sitting on top of it and couple of stubby pencils sitting on the table behind that screen. Here you unfold and scrutinize your ballot and then use one of the pencils to place your official "X" in the circle beside the name of your choice (I had five candidates to pick from this time***), then you refold your ballot (making sure the flap with the serial number is on the outside) and take it back to the front table and the second volunteer. You give your ballot to them, they tear off the performated strip with the ballot serial number, hand your still-folded ballot back to you, reach out and remove the piece of paper shielding the slot in the top of the big cardboard box sitting on the tape in front of them, and you drop your ballot in the slot.

And then everybody says goodbye, you leave the gym, the volunteers in the hallway all say goodbye and thank you for voting, and then you're free and entitled to complain about all elected federal officials and anything they do until the next election.

Now wasn't that thrilling? ;p

*** Conservative, Liberal, NDP, Green, and Marxist-Leninist, if you really wanted to know. There are 23 parties registered as running in this particular election but they don't all have candidates in all locations so number and types of voter choices varies from riding to riding.

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