Necessary Voting In Unnecessary Elections

So we’re voting again. I’m not looking forward to dealing with this right now, but I don’t really have a choice so off we go. I thought I’d post what answers I could find about the process, and ask a few questions of my own.

First of all, if you’re wondering if your vaccine status will affect your ability to vote in person, the answer is no.

Elections Canada says it won’t require voters to be vaccinated or to show proof of vaccination in order to vote in the 2021 federal election. 
The B.C. government’s website explicitly states its vaccine card won’t be required to vote. 
A spokesperson for Quebec’s Health Ministry said in an email its vaccine passport is limited to activities deemed non-essential and a high risk for transmission. 
“Polling stations are not part of it,” said communications director Robert Maranda.
In Manitoba, a spokesperson for the provincial vaccine task force said it had advised Elections Canada that vaccine passports won’t be required to access polling stations.
Ontario’s system won’t be in place until after voting day.
In short, you can be unvaccinated and still vote in person at these locations:
• At an advance poll between Sept. 10-13.
• At an Elections Canada office before Sept. 14.
• On the Sept. 20 election day.

If you’re like me and haven’t received your voter card yet and are wondering what to do if it doesn’t show up, this should help. But I guess we should only worry if it’s not here by the 10th.

If you’re wondering where your polling stations are, type your postal code in here.

Now, here are my questions. First, I hope with all the restrictions in place, that poll workers will still help. Since the federal elections never have anything resembling a true accessible voting option, I kind of need the poll worker to read the order of the candidates and line up the template so I can mark my vote in the right spot. And no, bringing a friend or having someone else cast my vote is not an acceptable solution. It sounds like they still are supposed to help, at least that’s the theory. Let’s hope it happens in practice.

And while we’re on the subject of their idea of accessible voting, get a load of this joke of an option at the bottom of the list.

We have reviewed and updated our Accessibility Policy and Service Offering policy. Available in multiple alternative formats, it shows the accessibility services available to polling staff and electors, including:
• Sensitivity training for staff working at the polls
• Sign language interpretation services available upon request in advance
• Tools to help electors vote
• A redesigned ballot that improves readability and optical character recognition (OCR) by screen readers

The first three are fine, and the last one is good as far as making a ballot more readable, but who honestly thinks that anyone would be able to use OCR to read their ballot and then accurately cast it based on the results of that scan? Let me explain.

  • First, I would have to aim the phone at the ballot and hope it got the whole thing.
  • Then, after I got the scan back, I would have to hope that it read it properly.
  • From that, I would have to guess where each choice was written on the ballot and then hope I targeted the right spot to make my mark.
  • and then, since most OCR doesn’t read handwriting, and my mark probably wasn’t anything resembling a letter, I wouldn’t be able to verify that I did it correctly.

Anyone who bought the idea that electors will be using optical character recognition has much, much to learn. At that point, you might as well request assistance from someone with functioning eyes.

I guess I get doubly irritated, because if they just got a damn machine like the municipal and provincial elections have been using for years, they wouldn’t have to lay out a line of bunk to make people feel better about the options that are being offered. Admittedly, the machines need to be more readily available, but at least using the machines feels like a truly independent and accessible voting experience.

Happy voting, everyone.

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