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If it ain't broke ... Report from Poll #90 - The Annals of Young Geoffrey: Hope brings a turtle [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Young Geoffrey

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If it ain't broke ... Report from Poll #90 [May. 5th, 2011|12:10 pm]
Young Geoffrey
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I am still processing the results of Monday's election and expect to have gathered my thoughts about the results shortly. Meanwhile, I want to talk about the Canadian federal election system itself — that is, how we cast our votes and how our cast votes are counted.

That system is antiquated, labour-intensive, apparently inefficient and uses technologies that, with the exception of a computer-generated print-out of the voters' list, would be completely familiar to a time-traveller from the 19th century.

I spent some 15 hours in an uncomfortable chair on Monday striking names off the voters' list with a cheap ball-point pen, then helped to count the votes. I came away from the experience with a sore back, tired eyes and a lot of appreciation for an apparently primitive system that still managed to count not far off 15 million ballots in a matter of a few hours. This old and cumbersome system is in no need of fixing.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/219004.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sooguy
2011-05-05 09:23 pm (UTC)
The physical system may not be broken, but the electoral system sure is. When a party with less than 40% of the popular vote can win more than 50% of the seats there is something wrong with the system.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-05 09:57 pm (UTC)

Broken indeed

Amen, brother.

I'm trying not to despair (despair is for nihilists), but it's going to be a hell of a fight to unseat those bastards.

Not only is he going to do away with the current financing system — mark my words, the Tories will be able to raise as much corporate money as they want next time around — but if the Harper Government CRTC doesn't reverse itself on giving SUNTV the right to tell lies in their newscasts, I'll be very surprised.

On the upside, I'm please to see the (apparent) demise of the Bloc, not unhappy to see the NDP with the chance to permanently replace the Grits and very happy indeed to see Elizabeth May finally elected.

But I'm having a hell of a time wrapping my brain around so many people in Toronto, especially, voting against their own god damned self-interest.
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[User Picture]From: wiseacre
2011-05-19 03:11 am (UTC)

Re: Broken indeed

But I'm having a hell of a time wrapping my brain around so many people in Toronto, especially, voting against their own god damned self-interest.

Many people are simply terribly misinformed/uninformed and have no idea who/what they're voting for. On municipal election day, I was shocked to find my co-worker had voted Ford. She is a young, black, hijab-wearing Muslim woman. As soon as I explained that she had voted for a racist, wife-beating (allegedly) drunk and some of the things he'd gotten up to in the past, she was appalled at what she'd done.

Another co-worker has a very narrow view of "self-interest." She wanted to get back sixty bucks for her car registration. I like her, but told her with all sincerity that she's stupid and that next time I would give her sixty dollars to stay home and not vote.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-19 04:23 pm (UTC)

Re: Broken indeed

On the Muslim co-worked, what can I saw except, "The mind reels"?

As for the other, I don't know that your diplomatic skills are to be admired, but I like the sense of humour.

It's rather amazing how low a priority materially comfortable people often put on such things as safe or just well-maintained streets, which they don't seem to understand are paid for via their tax dollars.
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[User Picture]From: wiseacre
2011-05-20 04:37 am (UTC)

Re: Broken indeed

You know what the funny thing is? I had a rather lengthy and heated Facebook exchange with my wife's friend about voting. She was mooting the idea that to vote one must pass a basic test much as that that prospective citizen's must take. I argued very strongly against this. Universal franchise (or as near as possible) is the cornerstone of our democracy and if you start on that road...well, we know how it will end. Anyone can vote for whomever they want for any reason, however uninformed. But man, do I hate the results. It's hard to be principled at times.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-20 10:06 pm (UTC)

Re: Broken indeed

I take comfort in the knowledge that, historically, I don't think there's any significant difference in the quality of governance resulting from limited or universal franchises.

If there is one, I suspect you could point to dictatorships and oligarchies as having the worse — and more blood-soaked, records.
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[User Picture]From: silverflight8
2011-05-05 10:05 pm (UTC)
The other really really good thing about paper ballots is they are so easy, they hardly need instructions. "Put a check/x in the circle beside the candidate" is sufficient.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-05 10:19 pm (UTC)

Good point

It's true. Both the spoiled ballots that went through my poll were very obviously deliberately spoiled. "They're all fucking assholes" scrawled across all eight candidates' names especially was very clear.
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[User Picture]From: jamiewho
2011-05-05 10:57 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

Ha! If I'd been able to vote, I'd have considered doing something similar.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-05 11:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

Wait! For some reason, I thought you were a citizen. But in any case, when your choice is a semi-fascist, false populist "conservative" Party, I hope you'd hold your nose vote for someone whose party doesn't want to turn this country into one made up of nothing but rules and serfs.

Ahem. Apparently, the processing isn't going entirely well.
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[User Picture]From: jamiewho
2011-05-05 11:12 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

I am a citizen (and voted in the last election), but I didn't have proof of my new address and just couldn't be bothered :)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-05 11:21 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

*Old man shakes fist at cynical youth*

Well, I suppose the sun will still rise come morning.
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[User Picture]From: jamiewho
2011-05-05 11:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

I suppose I can't help being a little cynical when Canada's voting system kinda, umm, sucks.

And don't give me that old man nonsense.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2011-05-05 11:32 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

And don't give me that old man nonsense.

You do know how to butter a fella up!

But your point about the voting system's suckage (do the Kiwi's have proportional representation) is well-taken. Of course, the NDP had promised to do something about that.

Ah well, fuck politics for the moment. I need to review a lousy book by a once-wonderful writer.
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[User Picture]From: jamiewho
2011-05-05 11:39 pm (UTC)

Re: Good point

Yep, NZ's system is proportional - far more sensible.
Doesn't make the squabbling between parties any less childish (I arrived back there last time right before an election, and got to catch all the drama on the news every night), but the end result is more fair.
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