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Did I just kill 10,000 trees in casting my vote? My not green voting experience

I voted. I did. Seriously. I didn’t think I’d vote because every time I listen to ANY party leader, it’s like they’re pissing on me and calling it rain.

As some of you may know, I now call London my primary residence. I live in the riding of London North Centre. All you Western kids will associate this riding as the one with Masonville Mall in it.

Here was my dilemma. I wanted to vote, but I wouldn’t be in London come election day. What to do? (I missed the advance polls for all of you smart alecs out there).

I called Elections Canada. They told me that I could attend at ANY Elections Canada office and register for what’s called a “Special Ballot”. All I would have to do is complete some paperwork, know the name of my riding, know the name of the candidate for whom I wanted to vote, and present some ID, and voila; a vote would be cast!

So, I completed the forms, in triplicate. No problems there other than a hand cramp. Turns out the forms I completed in triplicate were the wrong ones, so I completed another set of forms (yes, again in triplicate).

Once that was done, an election official completed some internal forms for office use only, declaring that they gave me the forms, I and I alone completed them, and that I had presented my ID when completing said forms. All very official. In triplicate I think.

After that, they sent me alone to a room with a kind man who presented my a blank ballot, which I filled out. Thank goodness I can read and write English, otherwise, I’d be screwed. Then, the man asked that I put the ballot into a small white enveloppe; which I did. Then the man asked me to put the small white enveloppe which contained my ballot into a larger pink enveloppe (enveloppe #2 for you counting at home). So, I did. Then the nice man asked that I put the larger pink enveloppe into a THIRD brown enveloppe for external mailing. Which I did. Was I on Candid Camera? 3 enveloppes for one ballot?

So one handwritten ballot and three enveloppes later, I was done..or was I? Then the man asked that I sign another set of forms confirming that I did in fact complete the ballot and stuffed all three enveloppes myself (again in triplicate). By this point in time, all I wanted was a glass of water to dillute the taste of glue on my mouth from all the enveloppes and a nice hand massage from all the writing I’ve been doing on all of these silly forms.

Then the man told me that my ballot had to be MAILED to Ottawa. He told me that I would have to pay for the postage as the Government/Elections Canada did NOT cover the cost. If they wanted people to vote, you’d figure that they’d cover the cost of mailing in these ballots!

But here’s the kicker. If my ballot didn’t reach Ottawa by May 2nd, my vote wouldn’t count. So, if my ballot was lost by the Canada Post monster, this entire exercise was a grandiose waste of time, money and paper, not to mention my 59 cents for postage.

It makes you wonder; in the age of fax machines, phone lines, email, the inter-web, why can’t this sort of thing be done in a more efficient, cost-effective way. If Elizabeth May of the Green Party knew how much paper was wasted on casting one special ballot like mine, she’d have a fit.

My prediction for come election day? I said it long before the press picked up on it; Jack Layton and the NDP set a modern day NDP record for popular vote and the amount of seats ever achieved by an NDP party. In terms of a PM/Government, I have no prediction on that. Best of luck to all the candidates. And for you readers. Learn from my experience. Spare the paper wasted on the special ballot. Make sure you’re in your riding come election day and vote the regular way.

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