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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Voting

The weeks leading up to this year's municipal election were interesting, and I think I have learned something about the difficulities of the demoncratic process in rural areas. Perhaps I am beginning to understand why voter turn-out in municipal elections is historically so low. At our house we spent several weeks before hand, trying from time to time to determine who the candidates were, and what they stood for. Their communication with their desired constituency seemed to leave much to be desired.

Up to and including the morning of election day, the following is what we had learned. We received one flyer in the mail from the township telling us where and when to vote, and that, “This flyer serves as your household’s voter’s card.” Okay, good start. We now knew we were allowed one vote for mayor, and four for council.

There were a variety of signs around the village and countryside announcing the names of several candidates, but they really didn't tell us anything except that the candidates can put up signs. Who were these people, and what did they stand for?

Our investigation located a document on the township website which told us there were two candidates for mayor (one incumbent), and nine for council. The document listed email addresses for the two mayoral hopefuls, and four of the nine candidates for council. No websites were listed, and a Google search did not revealed any. Hmmm.

We then thought there must be an all-candidates meeting somewhere, so we searched the web for information on one but didn’t find it. Later we learned from a neighbour that there had been one, and she thought she saw a sign somewhere announcing it but wasn’t sure. I don’t know where the sign was, but we certainly didn’t see it. There were no flyers in the mail or posters in the variety store/post office about it, at least that we saw. Unless other people had a better grapevine than we did I am guessing the meeting was probably not very well attended! Our frustration was beginning to build.

Several weeks prior to the election we had one knock on the door from one candidate, who turned out to be a neighbour. He also gave us a flyer with a picture of his family indicating what he supports. He did not spend long, but he came, and we can vote for him. Good Job!

We had one flyer in the mailbox from one of the mayoral candidates (not the incumbent). From it we learned that she has experience on council and was involved with the food bank. Good, I thought. She understands local issues for the poor, and is not afraid to volunteer. I think I can vote for her.

And the flyer was a good sign. Surely the other candidates pieces would be along soon, right? But that was it! Right up to election day, that was the sum-total of communication we received from the eleven candidates running in our municipality!

Then on the morning of election day, Joan went to the post office on her way back from voting, and lo and behold, there were four more flyers in the mail box. I thought, now isn’t that interesting! Since the advance poll was nine days ago, wouldn’t you have thought the candidates would have wanted their information out early?

At the polling booth, we discovered there were five candidates running for the school board. Who knew!

Now, I accept that it is my civic duty to learn about the candidates and be able to make informed decisions about who to vote for. But wouldn't it be easier to do that if the information was readily available? After all, we are all very accustomed to the so called Information Superhighway now, and most of us hardly remember where else to look for information. In this day and age, does anybody have time to chase the candidates for their thoughts? In the 21st century, shouldn't the candidates make the information available on the internet on a site where it is easy to find and in a form where is is readily understood?

Oh well, they are all volunteers, right? They probably didn’t have enough time. At least they are trying.

Is there anything we can learn from this?

Posted by Carman

3 comments:

  1. at least you recieved a card that told you where to vote,whereas our household recieved numerous election flyers, we did not receive a voters registration card. I did manage to find the required information on line, and contacted city hall and they sent a voter registration card, lol, I assumed they would send one for both voters, alas they did not, which then required a visit to city hall to obtain the other voter registration card.

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  2. nice thoughts Carman and good object lesson... but are you certain it was the "demoncratic" process you were commenting on? :D

    gotta love typos!

    john

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  3. Oh my, that too Freudian, don't you think? What fun Dr. Sigmund would have had with that! I guess that's what happens when you get used to spell-check, and then write in a program that doesn't have it.

    Thanks for your comments, John and Anonymous,
    Carman

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