Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fess up...

Ok, which Telegram reporter is lurking around my blog? I got e-mail today from a friend in St. John's who heard there was a story in Thursday's Telly (he didn't know which reporter it was) about someone from Iqaluit bragging on his blog that he voted in the municipal election. Since I can't imagine there are that many of us (although with all the screw-up with mail-in balloting I'm hearing about, who knows) I imagine that I'm the culprit.

I'm not pissed. If you write it and put it out online, you better expect your words to go strange places you never expected. I'm just curious. And I can't really go and find it myself because, as I've said before, The Telegram site is not exactly the best newspaper site you will find on the internet.

Still, there is something to be said for infamy. I've only been back blogging for about a week and already I'm annoying people. Huzzah!


Erin said...

Hey there! I love your blog. I'm a teacher in Fredericton, NB. What are you doing in Nunavut?
Feel free to check out my blog

towniebastard said...

Well, you can check one of my earlier posts this from September which kind of explains in gory detail what I'm doing in Iqaluit. The short story is...blame my wife. She's a teacher, got a job here and I came along.

As for your blog it's, um, interesting. Especially the bit on beastality. Interesting in a disturbing way, but interesting all the same...;)

His Nibs said...

So, Craig, do they have a public library where you can read the Telly? With so many Newfs there, it mihgt be worth a shot.

towniebastard said...

There is a library here, but I've yet to wander into it. Shocking, I know. I doubt they have the Telegram there, though. But who knows. It's certainly a good enough reason to check it out.

Ed Hollett said...

The comment was contained in an editorial on the recent election and the obvious problems with the process.

The simple fact is that once you moved your residence out of town, you gave up your right to vote under the Municipal Elections Act.

The editorial mentioned you without referring to you by name as an example of irregularities in the voting process.

Ed Hollett said...

And then another thought:

You can't imagine that many people fell into your category. Maybe not. We do know that there were numerous instances of people receiving multiple ballots either in their own name (and variations) or for themselves and previous residents of the same address. Dead people got ballots - people dead for at least four years.

Half the ballots came back out of which 4, 000 were returned as dead or not at this address. It's reasonable to conclude there are several thousand more out there that can't be tracked. Were they cast? Who can say, one way or the other?

Then there are the 1, 000 people who appear to have done everything right except that they stuck the ballot and the voter declaration into the same envelope. These could have been easily assessed without violating the need for secret balloting.

You got to vote. A thousand residents didn't on a technicality. That's one of the points the editorial was making.

Ed Hollett said...

The editorial is on the website.

Thursday, September 29, 2005
Apathy scores an election victory

To give the devil his due, Andy Wells is once again the mayor of St. John’s — one of the winners in a battle where there is always winners and losers.

Losers in the municipal election include former councillors Paul Sears and Kevin Breen but there’s another loser as well.

The city may be growing every day, but 2,000 fewer people voted this time around than voted in the last election in 2001.

This time, out of the city’s 75,000 voters, some 37,000 — less than 50 per cent — cast ballots.

And that means the city should have a good hard look at its vote-by-mail


Now, obviously, the winners aren’t as concerned about potential weaknesses in the system.

“It’s clearly been established as a credible way to vote,” Andy Wells said Tuesday night after the results were known.

But there are plenty of reasons to dispute that.

The vote-by-mail system has clear problems that have to be addressed,

especially because it did not achieve

its main goal, which was to increase turnout by making voting more straightforward.

There were large batches of spoiled ballots, not to mention ballots that were sent — sometimes three at a time — to the wrong address. One enterprising former St. John’s resident not only received a ballot, but voted from Iqualuit, and boasted on the Internet about doing so.

The fact is, given the existing system, there is virtually no way to stop that sort of abuse, and no fail-safes of any kind to stop voting fraud.

On top of that, the system shortens campaign time and favours incumbents, because people can start voting as soon as they get their envelopes, when there are days of campaigning left.

The fact is, this election crossed a crucial line: a majority of eligible voters simply did not vote, a fact that should not be lost on any of the members of the new council.

To put that in context, for everyone elected in the city, you could say that apathy actually won every single seat — despite the fact that the voting process was supposedly simpler than ever.

And that’s something that should be taken to heart: more people could care less about who’s in council than the number of people who do care.

Of course, there were a few extenuating circumstances in this particular election.

You can put a lot down to the fact that the race for mayor was lame, and even more, you might be correct in suggesting that the turnout could have been even lower if there had been traditional polls.

But that’s a mug’s game.

Governments that can’t even generate civic interest have a way of deciding that they can justify any behaviour.

In this election, some people

won, but the entire democratic system lost.