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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Changing History with Paper and Pencil

Voting Day today.
Unlike our American neighbours, we Canadians hold our federal elections with a short lead-in (only six weeks' campaigning), very little pageantry, and the simplest of technology.
Hooray for simplicity!
After work today, Big Bear and I joined the streams of people heading for the local elementary school. We entered the gym, stood in a lineup, then handed in our voter's registration cards. The man at the table examined my driver's license to make sure I was who I said I was, then carefully crossed my name off his list with a pencil and ruler. He then tore my paper ballot from a booklet and initialled it. I took it to a cardboard booth behind the table and placed my pencilled X in a box beside my favorite candidate's name. A woman took my ballot, tore off a strip, and I dropped it in The Box.
There it is. High tech and loving it. And one pencil mark could conceivably change the course of our country! (But it probably won't...)
As I type, Elections Canada is feverishly hand counting all the paper ballots to determine the outcome of all this hoopla. Who will be our next Prime Minister?
Whatever the case, I very much doubt that he will pack the publicity punch of Obama or Palin. In fact, I bet that most Americans don't even know that we're having an election today. Or that we're here!

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