As today is Provincial Election Day in Manitoba I wanted to share a story that continues to inspire me to vote.
On the last Provincial Election in 2007 I was helping with voter registration and advanced poles with Elections Manitoba. During that election the Returning Officer for our riding came back from one of the advanced poles that visited those who were infirm or unable to travel to their polling stations and recounted this story to us.
The Returning Officer (R.O.) was collecting the vote of a new Canadian who was voting for the first time in a provincial election. After filling out her ballot in secret, she tried to show the R.O. and staff her ballot. When it was explained again that her ballot was secret and that it was going to be sealed and opened only on the day of the election to be counted, the woman broke down in tears.
According to the woman, back in her country of origin you had to show the people at the ballot box who you voted for. I can’t even begin to imagine the pressures that people must have felt to vote in a certain way to avoid possible retribution in such a situation where your ballot was not secret.
It’s a touching story that pushes me to go out and vote whenever we have a provincial or federal election. First and foremost because we are very luck to have our electoral system and to get the chance to voice our choice for those who run our governments, it’s not everyone that has that chance. Secondly, I’m fit and able to walk or drive the short distance to my polling station, so if I don’t go I imagine I would end up feeling rather selfish and lazy.
I encourage everyone to go out and vote today, it does make a difference.