About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The View From the Polling Station

If you've never worked at a polling station on election day, it's an experience well worth having. Seeing the mechanics of democracy, in action, from behind the scenes is amazing. And though it might sound boring to sit there all day and administer paper ballots and direct people to where they should be, the time actually goes by pretty quick.
Yesterday, I was an Information Officer at St. Francis of Assisi. I welcomed people that walked though the front doors of the school, directed them down the hall to the gym and checked to make sure that they had the proper ID with them to ensure the smooth processing of voters. You'd be surprised to learn how many people can't follow the rather simple instructions on voting procedure and what ID they need to vote. Several people brought in the brochure that outlined the types of ID they needed and what that ID needed to say, and they still didn't have the correct information. (Usually, they were forgetting something with their address on it.) 
And don't even get me started on how many people either forgot their Voter Information Card, said they misplaced it, and even admitted to throwing it out. 
The big news was the robocalls telling voters that their polling place was changed, too busy, or closed early. After the first couple of people told me about the robocalls I phoned it in to Elections Canada HQ in Guelph, and they told me that they had heard several other complaints as well. What happened with the crank calls has been well-covered by now (with the exception of who's behind them). One industrious woman gave me the phone number of the caller thanks to the miracle of called ID. I tried ringing the number, with its Montreal area code, and got an inaudible name before being directed to the number's already full voice mail box. Whoever is behind it, the robocalls were dirty pool, and considering the attempted (and occasional successful) disruption of democracy, I would go so far as to call it treasonous. Yes, these people are enemies of democracy, and should be treated as such.
Otherwise, it was a pretty smooth day at the polls. I met and talked to a lot of nice people. Some of them were veteran voters, some of them were there for the first time ever. There was no political sniping, no negativity, no shouting or hair pulling, just pleasant people exercising their constitutional right to choose the government. It's just too bad that more people still don't avail themselves of the opportunity.

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