Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nunavummiut Vote 2008

The Canadian federal election was I'm sure 59% of you are aware of... and you other ones... well apparently it was the worst turn out in our history. Nunavut however didn't have the worst voter turn out in the country, it actually beat Newfoundland/Labrador who came in last place, which I must admit I'm a little surprised about. We also kicked the Northwest territories by a whole 0.8%! Good for us, but seriously why aren't more of us voting? I have to wonder if it was slightly more advertised maybe more would have gone out? I didn't see a single campaign sign and I don't think the conservative party even made it to our community. The only reason I knew the NDP and Liberal representatives made it here was I saw one, that's right ONE liberal pin and started asking around to see if I could get one (only because I would have liked to collect all the parties pins, I also snagged an NDP pin, but nothing from the Conserves or the Greens). I really believe there wasn't enough campaigning done up here, I think a little more hype would have made everyone a little more excited. Not everyone is going to sit around catching details on CBC news world (which I found to be leaning more on one side vs the other). I don't even think some people here even knew there was an election.

Meanwhile I've got my "only in Nunavut" election stories to tell. I received a phone call from my mom the other day reminding me that I have to take TWO, yes TWO pieces of I.D. with me to the polling station come election day. I just laughed and said probably not, but closer to the hour, I decided to take my wallet, crammed full of identification. I show up, get a "what's your name" and a "you can only vote once" and BAM I'm voting. No I.D needed, good ol' Nunavut.

The other wonderful tale of stupidity is definately my fault, but probably only got away with it because of where I was voting (they are a little more sticky about things down south I find). Now at the risk of getting in trouble I'm not going to say I actually did this... I hypothetically brought my camera into the polling station. I might have taken a photo of my blank ballot and also maybe one of me putting my ballot in the box. Apparently you can't do this. I might have told the people running it that I was documenting my voting experiences and they hypothetically didn't say anything or seem to care. That is until we were leaving and Nathan started saying something about how I don't think your allowed to bring cameras into a polling station and blah blah blah...and this lady comes running out and says "you can't take photos inside". O.k., well it's too late now if that's true, I might have already done it. Anyways if I did take photos it wasn't of anyone else or wouldn't have compromised anyones else's vote, it also helped that no one else was in there. I was maybe just dumb enough to take photos of my own unmarked ballot, which apparently is taboo or illegal (I couldn't find anything written about it later, but if anyone knows anything official I wouldn't mind you sharing your knowledge). Anyways it's obvious that if this story is true, I'm not going to be posting any taboo photos. So are some safe and boring images to hold you over.

Here is sweet picture of the outside (outsides are safe). As you can see it has snowed, three cheers for that!
Also hope I'm not breaking any rules with this Pulizter prize winner!


Aleks said...

I worked in the Election and no, you didn't necessarily need two pieces of ID. A driver's license, which had a photo and address was sufficient.

The whole point was to establish two things:
(a) you are who you say you are
(b) you live in the riding you're trying to vote in.

The two pieces rule was for the "lesser" forms of id that only proved one of these things. I had a lot of people bitch that their passport didn't count, by itself, as sufficient id. But it's very simple: YES IT PROVES YOU'RE YOU. But how do I know you should be voting in Ontario or Nunavut?

After all, the election isn't like the American presidential election where a vote for Obama/McCain is the same no matter where you live. The Canadian election is more like 300+ little elections, so where you vote is important. It matters.

Anyway it frustrated me a great deal how arrogant some voters were about the voting process. This thing basically safeguards our quality of life, so give it the extra 10 seconds to do it right. It's absolutely worth every second.

Which brings me to another point: ballot secrecy. The reason we vote in secret is to prevent
(a) buying/selling votes,
(b) voter coercion/intimidation.

Canada introduced the secret ballot in 1874, so you might ask what did they do before that time? People had to publicly declare who they wanted to vote for. But knowing how other people voted led to the kinds of things mentioned above; bribes, heads being knocked, etc. It's also been a problem in the 20th century with bad voting systems allowing people, like the mob, to find out how you vote and mess you up.

It's become harder to enforce secrecy at the polling place with the advent of things like cellphone cameras. That's why France introduced a system where there are like mountains of ballots just laying around everywhere. You can take and mark as many as you want, but you can only actually cast ONE. That way if you took a picture, it wouldn't prove who you actually voted for.

We don't use that system, which is obviously why cameras at the polling place are, hypothetically, are a no no.

Living in Cape Dorset said...


I agree with you whole heartedly regarding collusion and violence in elections. Take a gander at this little piece of history I dug up from my hometown


Way Way Up said...

Funny you should mention bringing in your camera. I'm not really sure what the law has to say about it. I actually thought about doing the same thing and maybe posting a picture of my marked ballot. But then I thought if I did that I would invite all sorts of obnoxious ideologues to my blog to decry my choice - and my blog is only big enough for one obnoxious ideologue....I can't stand competition.


BriBri said...

Don't worry about not seeing any election signs in CD, we certainly made up for it in Ottawa. We had signs and signs and signs... If it helps you with the pin too, I wanted to put up a lawn sign (I've campaigned for the party I support since I've been able to vote) and Jason wouldn't let me. Something about company policies or something. Blah blah blah is what I say. I'll get him to look up the elections act stuff about photography. He's a nerd, so I'm sure he'll find it and love looking for it.

Matthew and Michele said...

I had to show ID. Like you I decided to take my entire wallet cramped full of ID.

As a side note one of the guys here in the office had his government of Nunavut photo ID card rejected by the airport. Their excuse was it wasn't Government Issue ID. ???

Ahhh airports. Good thing they don't run the elections.