Voting Day in Canada

Today was voting day in the 2008 Canadian Federal Election. I just got back from voting, and thankfully the polling station was nearby (just as with the Ontario Provincial Election last year), being only a five-minute walk away from my building.

I headed over there right after work and was surprised to see that the polling station was not busy at all. It was in the gymnasium of a secondary school and I was the only person voting at the time. (Though I did see people coming in on my way out) Perhaps this was to be expected, as Belleville is a community with quite a few retirees who probably voted earlier in the day.

The staff were quite courteous and made the process as simple as possible, which is especially important for older voters. I’m quite thankful to have Elections Canada overseeing the vote in Canada, and I just can’t imagine why they don’t have such standards in the US, which undoubtedly contributed to the controversy surrounding the 2000 Presidential elections.

This election has also been one with a great presence on the Internet, much to my liking. The Internet is already a place that many turn to for their daily fix of news, information and commentary. Many, such as myself, are already using it as their prime source of news, having grown tired of traditional media. Even my Mom, a self-described computer-illiterate, has taken to using YouTube for elections updates, albeit through the CBC Channel.

Speaking of the CBC, their coverage has been pretty decent, but more importantly, they’ve launched a massive effort to get local with their elections coverage. They’ve nicely put together a page with all the ridings, each listing the riding’s profile, the candidates’ profiles, the 2006 election results and a message board, which they mistakenly describe as a “blog”.

It’s a step in the right direction, but could stand to be more interactive and even more local. For example, a dedicated reporter for each riding could update a real blog about the issues for that riding. A calendar could also provide details about upcoming events, such as candidates’ debates. Of course, all of this information is already available online, but aggregating it could be of some value. People want web sites and services to be local, offering information that’s directly relevant to them and their community, and no where is this more important than during elections.

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