The right to vote for the author of Live Rural NL was taken away, therefore, for the first time in a Federal Election, I have no choice but to sit on the sidelines and abstain from voting. This disgusts me. A series of unfortunate events will be the groundwork to express my concern regarding the difficulty one may encounter during the vote process.
When I received a voting card in the mail for my grandmother, but not myself I immediately called the local Elections Canada Office in Corner Brook. The staff person verified that I was indeed not on the list. I asked how I could have been overlooked, as I voted by special mail in ballot in the 2008 Federal Election in the riding of Hunber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte. I had informed the person that I must be added to the list and to have a special voting package sent to me, as I would be out of the district during the Easter holidays and would be on vacation on May 2, 2011 out of country during election day. I had noted I had voted by mail previously and was familiar with the process. No other voting options were given to me.
I received a package to register to vote, but no special mail out package. I completed and returned this packaged to get added to the list and then waited for the special ballot. It never came, because someone at Elections Canada failed to do their job, robbing me of my right to vote. After returning from visiting family outside the district for Easter, I had someone check the mail one final time, no package and no vote card. This was April 26, 2011. I called, a little too late as I spoke with the Returning Officer on April 27, 2011. There was no solution for me, as there was no record of me ever requesting a special ballot. This is quite convenient. She did inform me I was registered to vote on April 17. I did not receive a voter’s card with the information attached until April 28, 2011. This is 11 days, completely unacceptable. There must be a better way to reach rural regions and provide better services.
I was in the riding earlier today, but was not able to vote at a polling station closer to the airport. I had to vote at the one in my community. There is something gone wrong with this process. We spend $300 million dollars of our tax dollars on elections and this is how matters are handled.
How come we can not accommodate for the mobile voter? Why are we not completely vote by mail or web-based voting? I guess based on the holidays and Canada Post if would be a nightmare to tabulate and elections would need to be months long. Nearly 20% of Canada’s populations, primarily rural does not have broadband Internet access. Is the country so afraid Canadian’s will actually exercise their right to vote or simply we are not advanced like other countries when it comes to voting? I know in Switzerland they vote by mail. We need greater accountability.
I heard on Open Line this morning, a woman Mary-Anne was requesting the mail in vote for three elderly seniors. One never received the package ever. Two got an application on the day before closing and she had to make two trips into the city. Talk about inconvenience. However, Mary-Anne you are fortunate to be so close to the city, as Rural Newfoundlanders & Labradorians are even further disadvantaged.
It should not be complicated and difficult to vote. Changes must be made to the Elections Canada Act. It is your right to vote or not today, but those who want to, should be permitted to do so.
Very disappointed Canadian
Live Rural NL -
Christopher C. Mitchelmore