An American reflects on Canadian polling problems

An American reflects on Canadian polling problems In the past 20 years, as I've bounced back and forth between the US and the Yukon, I've had quite a good chance to compare how our two democracies work. One of the differences that has always amazed me wa

In the past 20 years, as I’ve bounced back and forth between the US and the Yukon, I’ve had quite a good chance to compare how our two democracies work. One of the differences that has always amazed me was your “enumeration” style of registering voters.

Sending people out knocking on doors all over the country or territory (especially the rural areas where people live miles apart or live off the road system) before each election, instead of maintaining one list that you stay on as long as you live at the same place, is obviously expensive, inefficient and logs lots of road miles and pollution.

As for efficiency, check out the locally made, based-on-truth video based on the last election. People being turned away from the polls last election didn’t help the cause of democracy.

I’ve been voting for over 40 years (in the US) and until Uncle George’s brother, the governor, stole the Florida election for him, I’ve never heard of anyone being turned away at the polls. In every city hall and county clerk’s office is a voter registration department. For those of us who care, it’s a rite of passage when you come of age to go down and register. All issues of ID and residency are dealt with then. If you keep voting, you never have to update unless you move.

Instead of advance polls, we have an opportunity to vote by mail (absentee). I’ve often voted as I’ve travelled, even out of the country or in the backcountry. I’ve had my vote carried out of the mountains on muleback if I couldn’t leave camp. I can only imagine the number of people in the bush prospecting, mining, trapping, guiding or hunting, depending on the time of year, who can’t easily come in to vote.

As I hear people calling to reassess the system, you may want to consider an always-standing-list system. I’m sure you’d find it cheaper and easier.

Bob Fink

Skagway, AK

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