So I voted today. I decided to vote in my riding out west rather than _________, because I felt I was better versed in the issues there and the people involved.
And what a complex, ridiculous affair that voting turned into...
First, when you go to the Canada Elections website and look up the info for voting by special ballot, at the end of describing the procedure, it posts the location of the advanced polls nearest you rather than where need to actually go, which is the nearest elections Canada office. So first, I assumed I had to wait to vote until the advanced polling station opened, and then once I figured out the difference, I had to look up where the elections Canada office was. In terms of distance, I now had to travel another 8 km, which is considerable when your main method of transportation is a bicycle. Added to this, the website says you need to bring a form with you (as it turns out, you don't; they had many, many copies of the form at the office). I had the foresight to print off the form the last time I was at the university, but not the memory to bring the damned thing with me, so before I started the 8 km trek to elections canada, I needed to go on the 8 km there-and-back trip to the university to get the form. The general level of frustration was significantly increased by numerous errors on the elections canada website, and more than a few breaks to conduct a monologue on the subject of how I could be so stupid and why isn't this easier and I wished I lived in communist russia anyway.
At least it wasn't raining.
Once I was at the university, I had my first good thought of the day, and found the elections canada office closest to the university rather than to my apartment, and this sped things up considerably. And once I reached the office, (with only a minimal amount of getting lost) there were five people in front of me in line, but I got to move straight to the head, because I was the only one who had filled out the right form. The woman who processed my application was impressed that I knew my riding and my candidates ahead of time, but frankly, I think if I hadn't, I had no business voting to begin with.
I got my envelope and my ballot instructions on how to send it. Thus came the next moment of embaressment: I had no idea where to buy the stamp I needed. Apparently, right up until that moment of my life, my mother had bought every single stamp I ever used. I wondered around one of those super-size grocery stores, and finally asked the woman who ran the information/cigarettes/lottery ticket counter where I could get stamps. Answer: from her. So that worked out.
The mail-in ballot, in case anyone is wondering, consists of 4 parts: the ballot, the inner envelope, the outer envelope, and the other envelope. You write your candidate's name on the ballot, seal it in the inner envelope, seal the inner envelope in the outer envelope, sign and date the outer envelope, and place the outer envelope in the mailing envelope (thus making a mockery of the outer envelope designation, but never mind.). Then you fill in the address (I still have no idea whether this should have been the resident address, or the voting address), place the stamp you just bought from the nice woman on the front, and spend the next friggin' hour looking for a mailbox.
I'd like to say that all that effort makes you appreciate the significance of your vote that much more. It really doesn't. It does, however, drive home the importance of registering for a new voting location when you move so you get a regular voting card and you don't have to put up with all this... enjoyment. Although I'd do it all again if I had to; voting's part of the patriotic duty, folks. If you don't like it, go live in Communist Russia (you might need a time machine for that, but... eh.).
Everyone remember to go vote on the 14th, and if you want to follow in my adventurous footsteps, remember that the deadline to register to vote by special ballot is the 7th (you can mail it at any time, but the later you do, the less likely that it'll reach Ottawa in time to be counted.).