Saturday, 11 May 2013

Count your blessings at the ballot box

After 45 years as a Canadian voter, I've never been intimidated or even exposed to partisan information at a voting place, always felt the identification checks were sufficient to keep the voters honest and always been confident my vote was not just counted but also reported.  What's not to like?

The shenanigans inside Canadian political parties to register their own voters for conventions are a different story.  The bizarro stories from the US where entire precincts in Philadelphia voted 100% Democrat are a different story.   But here in British Columbia and speaking as a civic, provincial and national voter, we have sound procedures.

Maybe one exception: My vote went straight into a computer in one civic election. There was no whisper of fraud but there was no proof there wasn't. It's like when you buy gas with a credit card and the pump screen prompts, "Do you want a receipt?" I don't, but I always say I do, just to keep them honest. Old fashioned paper ballots work fine.

I like on-line polls and think they should be used publicly for every bill to get a sense of the electorate and keep it public. Tens of thousands would give opinions on some issues.  Naturally, groups will game the polls but counter-measures will limit the spin. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has become a political force by simply polling their members in depth across the entire nation, reporting the results to their members and to all relevant legislative bodies. Just don't let on-line polling replace two accountable moments: My paper vote in the ballot box and my representative's votes in the House.

(Anyone interested in helping develop a web site for fraud-screened massive on-line polls of all bills before the House of Commons?)

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