Pundits (particularly American pundits) like to talk about the importance of holding elections. The thing is that \”holding an election\” is actually not a single thing. It is a process that takes place over time. In the United States it takes place over a very long time and the process of registering to vote and then casting one\’s vote is far more complex in the United States than it is in some other countries.
My suspicions, from living for years in the U.S., is that most Americans don\’t get how their election/voting process looks to the rest of the world because they don\’t have a clear sense of how elections are run in other countries.
So this is a short description of what this voter did to get onto the voter\’s list for the provincial election on October 6.
I did nothing. I didn\’t pick up the phone, I didn\’t answer the doorbell, I didn\’t fill something out to put in the mail.
I did nothing.
Some number of years (several elections) ago some nice people knocked on the door and asked if anyone old enough (and eligible) to vote lived in the house. I wasn\’t home but mmySpouse gave my name as well as hir\’s.
That\’s how I got on the voting list.
Now every time there is an election I get a card in the mail reminding me of the date of the election and the location of my poll. It also lists eight advance polls (held in a variety of lcoations over 8 days.) I also have the option of voting at the returning office–which is also open on Sunday. All I need to do to vote is take with me the card I received in the mail and one piece of ID. Acceptable forms of ID range from Canadian passports, to birth certificates, health cards, armed forces IDs, and social insurance cards. Among the forms of acceptable ID are many that are available without cost.
I didn\’t need to go anywhere to get onto the voters list. The only questions asked of me (or rather of mmySpouse) were a) was I a Canadian citizen, b) was I eighteen or older and c) where did I live.
How hard would it be to get on the voters list I had just moved into the neighbourhood? Not very.
You can vote if you are in prison. You can vote if you are homeless. You can vote if you are confined to a hospital bed.
In short, it is the job of the government to make it possible (and safe) for you to vote.
And that, in my opinion, should be step one in running an election.