Letter: Observations from a federal election scrutineer

System of checks and balances assure job done with utmost care

There is a prevailing theme of black and white for attire at the polling station – no indication of what party our hearts and heads want to win.

What a privilege, truly, to be here to witness the fairness – as fair as possible under the current first-past-the post system of the electoral process. So many checks and balances. Each name crossed off as people identify themselves and vote. (And they know your name if you didn’t exercise your right.) Sealed bags inside of sealed bags, sequenced number sheets, various forms in triplicate.

And we don’t have to fear for our lives – no threats of violence or death if we dare to vote for our choice of candidate.

Finally, in Canada, all women, all indigenous peoples, all citizens old and new (if you are 18 years or older), can freely vote in accessible locations all across the country. Not too shabby.

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There is the soft buzz of conversation now – polls are closed, and teams at the table are working through the order of things – step 1, step 2, step 3. Then we scrutineers are invited to personally observe and record every single ballot, keeping our own tally score, and signing off on the polling station number.

Yes, we were here. Yes, we are witnesses. Yes, regardless of whether we liked the outcome or not, we know it was done with utmost care. For this I am truly grateful.

Rev. Juanita Austin,

Salmon Arm, B.C.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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