Tuesday, 14 May 2013

On Voting

Election Day in Beautiful British Columbia, and I feel exhausted.  Is it the prospect of casting a ballot and anxiety over the results, or just a lack of sleep?

I tried to count how many times I’ve voted over my increasingly long life, but lost track after about a dozen (including federal, provincial, municipal).  Strangely, though I work for a student society, I’ve hardly ever voted in a student society election.

A co-worker complained that just once she’d like to vote for someone who was better than the lesser of two evils, and I can understand the sentiment, but I rather like voting.  I would do it more often, but they only let you vote once in each election.  Think how  much more voting you could do if you could cast multiple votes.  In fact, I remember a student politician who did just that, but it had unpleasant repercussions.

So I walked to the Voting Place, as they call it – there must be a more technical term, but that’s what it said.  Had to dodge numerous cars: motorized voters.  Perhaps they should have drive-through voting places for them; in fact, didn’t I read about that somewhere?

Anyway, I managed not to get killed on the way to doing my civic duty, arriving at a Seniors Centre (usually I vote in a church, but perhaps my age is catching up with me: my voting number was 90, which is not quite my age yet …)

When I opened my ballot, my eye was caught by the Platinum Party.  Wonder who they are, I thought; I really should have done my homework.  But really there were only two choices in the election, and I let my intuition tell me who to vote for.

I try to follow my intuition or my gut instinct in voting.  I’ve gone against it only once that I can recall, and that’s the one vote I most regret and would call back if I could.  Not that it matters collectively.  One vote never decides an election (or almost never), but I like to be true to myself and vote for who I really want to vote for, and that time I didn’t.  I was too much in the grip of my upbringing that time, yet my inner voice told me it was time to break from that and do something radically different.  I didn’t, though, not that time: in later elections, yes, by which time it didn’t seem that radical anymore, but not that once, and I am sorry for it.

Then there’s the horse race aspect.  The results which will come in hours from now, and which it may be interesting to watch, though I have a house guest from afar and she may not be interested in what we British Columbians do.  I was interested in her province’s election when I was there last September, but then Quebec is always interesting.  And they even had shooting.

When I left the polling station, an elderly woman came at me with determination.  Uh oh, I thought, am I going to be attacked inside the Voting Place?  But she only wanted to give me a sticker saying I’d voted.  Interesting, I thought.  That might help advertise the election and increase turnout, so I took the sticker.  Didn’t put in on, though.  Voting is a private thing.

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