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LETTER – If advance polling station is an indication, election day won’t be easy

I’m one of those seniors who thought they would take part in the advance polling opportunity in Kamloops. I went to my station, in the United Church on St. Paul Street, early to beat the crowd. After waiting 25 minutes I left the line to return later when it wasn’t quite so busy. The second time looked more promising as I could actually see around the corner and there were only about 15 people in front of me. Twenty five minutes later I was at the beginning of the line. There were actually two lines for two different areas in Kamloops. I still couldn’t understand what was taking so long. Two people beside me had their voting cards and a passport. Apparently not good enough…they needed to match the address with the voters card. The woman pulled out her drivers license but she had to vouch for her husband so he could vote. I saw others in similar situations. When I got to the door of the voting room there was only one cubical per line-up. Seriously. Then I finally got to my turn. I couldn’t move to the table before the previous voter had his ballot in the box. Finally it was my turn. The gentleman couldn’t find my name….he was searching back and forth between pages. I spelled it again…he was still having problems. I looked down at the list and was told by the woman beside him to please not look at papers on the desk. I just thought I would help him find my name. He finally says, “Got it”. I was beginning to wonder if he could even spell….he was taking so long. I guess my point is, “What a cluster*#*+.” I honestly thought that if it was a first time person voting they probably would have turned away and not returned. Also, if I had been told I didn’t have the correct identification even though I had picture ID on a passport I probably would have walked away discouraged. I have to say if this is the polling station on Election Day there is no hope everyone is going to be able to cast their votes on time. You need to get down there and check it out. It’s an embarrassment to say the very least that our city has set up this pathetic voting station for our community.

LAURIE HALLOCK
Kamloops

About Mel Rothenburger (7706 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

7 Comments on LETTER – If advance polling station is an indication, election day won’t be easy

  1. Lori J Russell // October 13, 2019 at 10:55 PM // Reply

    FYI they are not volunteers — other than the scrutineers who represent each person up for election to check the ballot count. The rest are paid by Elections Canada. And the card clearly says your address must match, and if not you need to bring a piece of mail with your name and address on it.

    • David Carmichael // October 14, 2019 at 10:10 AM // Reply

      I was trying to relate the uncomfortable story of our visit to the united church on st paul, with the idea that it makes perfect sense to treat people extremely well, to make the voting process a positive thing, most definitely not a negative one. When this fails, we all fail. The less people that get out to vote the poorer our true representation of the the majority. I, too, felt that these people in the church were rude, uncivil and at times bullies.
      In response, Mr Rothenberger rebuked me, stating I was a whiner, and should shut up and take it – that there were third world countries out there that would love the chance to cast a free vote. I had failed to make my point. When we fail to encourage the vast majority of people to get out and vote – we have huge problems.

  2. We whine and gripe about the momentary first world inconvenience of ID, lineups, tape on the floor and the volunteers … i repeat … volunteers … who are tasked with following our stringent election process rules, while there are countries around the world that have no vote at all, or corrupt elections or no form of voice whatsoever for fear of death.
    To think the column writer and the commentors here are (or seem to be) seniors … not millennials. Entitlement is the word that crosses the mind.
    Calm down, stand in line, do what your told, recite your ID and think about those in other countries who can only wish to be confronted with such atrocities.

  3. David Carmichael // October 12, 2019 at 8:38 AM // Reply

    In support of the claims of Laurie Hallock, my wife and I tried to vote on Friday morning at the downtown United Church – firstly we were rudely greeted by a grumpy man who, though sporting no identification, growled “got some id?”. My first thought was “Who are you?” When my wife asked for id from him, he grumbled and dug out a hidden hand-written canada election id card (classy huh?). A huge line-up awaited us and after waiting 5 minutes and not moving we decided that we would try later in the day. On the way out Mr. Grumpy and I had some more words that were not endearing. At 5 pm we tried again. Yep there he was. Mr Grumpy tried to grab my wife’s voter card out of her hand, but i stepped in front and asked him NOT to touch my wife. Finally, we are at the final cue (2 only available) and I was directed to the one on the left – my wife went while I waited. When she left to vote I stepped forward but was told very firmly that I had to remain behind the yellow line until after she had finished. OK. MY time comes up and I presented my voter card and my valid BC drivers license. The lady took both and then asked my address – I said it’s on the voter card and on the driver license with my picture – she made me recite my name and address like a 5 year old before I was allowed to vote. What a shameful experience. I was under some illusion that the government was trying to get MORE people to turn out to vote. After this mess, we are just not sure if it wouldn’t be easier to join the majority and NOT VOTE.

  4. Agree. Having just renewed my DL and not having picture ID, along with my voters card, I brought along my passport. When I arrived at the polling station, no line up, but a young miss, quickly approached me, wanting to see my ID, gave her my passport and my voters card, but no, not good enough, also needed another piece of I’d with my name and address, so I pulled out my paper DL, which was acceptable and then I was directed to a voting booth. 3 people came in behind me, and none of them were stopped nor asked for voters card and ID. ??? The table set up for voting was a joke. If you noticed the tape on the floor, they did not want you to pass it. The polling booth was set up facing me, so had I been nosy enough, I could have seen who he was voting for. I rolled my eyes, and the lady quickly got up, moved the voting booth to the table behind her, for privacy. DUH. I was also quite surprised that the ballot box was not an electronic box like we have for municipal elections. Money for everything else, but none for Canadians.

  5. Most of the people who voted early at the Cottonwood Centre were sporting greying hair. So, at least I felt that I was in good company.
    For some reason, my name was on the list which was at the desk where only two people were lined up. The other line numbered close to 30 people patiently holding their voter’s card and some I.D.
    As I was about to enter the room where the votes were being cast, I was greeted by a young fellow who said, “Good morning; Bonjour”. Ah, memories of 5 years of high school French classes. Nothing like a bit of nostalgia to bring out the feeling of being truly Canadian/Canadien, especially during a Federal election! Of course, I replied in a couple of simple French sentences but just a blank stare for a reply. His “partner” was a young lady who had also learned some French so she and I tried out our skills for a moment or two. It was one of those priceless moments.
    Just the same, I am glad that I voted ahead of election day.

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