Why I didn't vote

Diogenes's picture

I didn't vote today. It wasn't because of apathy, or disgust, or laziness. I really did try. Here is my story.

April 19, 2:30pm local time

I cycle to the Canadian embassy here in The Hague, Netherlands with my completed application for a special ballot so the embassy can forward it to Elections Canada.

The lady at the embassy informs me that all she can do is fax the document to Elections Canada. I reply that that it is all I expect, and I would be quite grateful if she could do that simply that. She does, and she gives me a copy of the transmission report.

faxConfirm (149K)

April 27 - 3:42pm GMT

I phone Elections Canada from Holland on my own nickel. Toll free only works in North America. I pressed for english service and speak to a Pamela. I'm pretty sure english (or french) is not Pamela's first language.

After informing Pamela that I had NOT received my special ballot, she confirmed that they had recieved my registration on the 19th. She claims the special ballot was mailed on April 20th.

I ask what can be done. Pamela suggests I contact the Dutch post office.

I suggested the Dutch mail service was probably not the problem and that it is too late now anyway. So, could I vote at the Canadian embassy on May 2; election day?

Pamela asks me if I was a member of the Canadian Forces or Foreign Service.

I say NO, but I am a Canadian citizen and I am entitled to vote. I then ask to speak to her supervisor. I am having a hard time understanding Pamela, and have asked her several times already to repeat herself.

YourCallIsImportant (12K)

She replies she cannot transfer me because the system is down. Our conversation became a little testy at that point. I asked once again to speak to a supervisor. "I told you, the system is down." is the reply.

So I gathered myself together and asked her if someone could call me when the system is up and they can give me an answer. She takes down the information and tells me that she will forward it to her supervisor.

April 29, 7:05am EDT

I have not received a call from Elections Canada yet, so I phone again as soon as the office is open. I am richocheted from Mohammud, on the front line, to information offcer Sylvia, and then to another information officer called Barbara, and then to Dan, who I assume has even more information than Mohammud, Sylvia or Barbara. Barbara has confirmed my special ballot was mailed on the 21st.


About accountibility

I always ask for the name of the person I have the pleasure of speaking to, and I always offer my full name in exchange. This is expected when dealing with the government.

Just don't ever expect the courtesy of the full name of the person you are having a conversation with. It's a first name basis only.

I asked Dan if it was possible to vote at the embassy on May 2nd. He said no. There was nothing more that could be done. I tell Dan this is BULLSHIT. Dan agrees. Apparently Dan really is a senior information officer. He knows more than most are willing to admit.

We end our conversation with Dan offering his hopes that my day gets better. I thank Dan for at least being honest.

May 2, 13:20 GMT

I check the mailbox and see that my special ballot has arrived. Real special effort they make here. You have to write in the name of the candidate you are voting for; they don't even bother to enclose a list of the official candidates.

They also inform me of my responsibility to ensure that my ballot is returned on time.

Not a problem. I know who the candidates are. The incumbent, Rob Anders, is one of the least deserving MP's to seek re-election; therefore, if I actually did have the right to vote, I would vote for Janice Kinch (LPC), because she has the best chance to displace the reigning House of Commons village idiot.

Here. Just for the record, I'll post my special ballot here. I'll post it before the ballots boxes close in Ottawa, just to make it as official as I can.

In the event that I win that lottery where my vote could actually make a difference, I want that ticket to be a winner, even if the local merchant told me I had a loser.

Here ya go Elections Canada. If I can borrow a favorite phrase of Stephen Harper, let me be clear, there are no hanging chads on this ballot.

myVote (365K)