I worked as a poll clerk yesterday, a long 14 hours of record keeping and obsessive number balancing. High-pressure counting takes a mighty toll on your mental faculties, so today there is a finite limit to my complex reasoning. When I try to think anything big, my brain just says “nope”. In all honesty, it’s a bit of a relief. And the stress from yesterday seems a little exaggerated when I remember that I only had to count 126 ballots. Not even 50% of the eligible voters turned out, which is a pretty big problem that, for today at least, I have no real solution to.
One of the more difficult elements of being an elections employee is that I had to give up political activity for the last week of the campaign. I stayed almost entirely non-partisan, letting my political opinion sit sad and unheard in the corner. The things people do for money. But now, unfettered by my promise of neutrality, I can run around town and proclaim my ideals and opinions to anyone who stops to listen.
In regards to the now completed election, I had an interesting experience with it. I cannot say that I am a devoted fan and unqualified supporter of the man who won, Premier Dalton McGuinty. He and his administration have made decisions that I don’t agree with. They show the same poorly thought out infatuation with consultants and their phantom promise of “cost-savings” that every dumb corporation does. I don’t think a hired gun gives you the right answer. They give you the answer that you want to hear, so that they can get paid quickly and get out of your office before their advice comes to fruition and blows up in your face. Outsourcing, whether production or decisions, leads to a decrease in real value.
Having said that, the overall approach and goals of the party align with my own agenda. The big two are health care and education, and an overall respect for diversity and human rights. And, to his credit, Premier McGuinty is a decent guy and a capable leader. When you include a slate of good, hardworking local candidates, my decision on who to vote for and campaign for was easy.
And the campaign itself was fascinatingly instructive, as all three major parties tried different variations of voter alienation and divisive politics, with a very distinctive set of results. The worst result being a terrible voter turnout of 45%. That has to change, and its a problem that is much bigger than one party or one election. I still have no answers, but I ‘ll suggest educating people on the way government works at all levels would be a good place to start.