Municipal elections are coming up and we want to vote. It’s not easy.
First off, the voting booth is on another island. So you have to travel in the winter in a small boat through the forest on a logging road (if it is not snowed in) to get to a place that is not ‘on your way’ to anything and then get back home again. Say, four hours minimum given good passage. Longer for those who live further out.
Mind you, we chose to live here but, on the other hand, we are voting in our municipality/regional district. You’d think they’d know of the logistical challenges their constituents face.
You’d be wrong.
The Feds do. They set up a voting station out here. So does the Province. But the government most locally oriented doesn’t seem to ‘know from rural’ . They don’t get it.
Well, in theory they do. Seems we can vote by mail. But, of course, the ballots aren’t ready yet ’cause the nominations just closed so the mail-in vote won’t happen for a while. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Voting day is less than a month away.
“Hello? Uh, Mr Elections fella? If we are gonna vote by mail, shouldn’t we get those ballots pretty damn quick-like?”
“Can’t. Gotta wait for the forms to be printed.
“You mean the ballots?”
“No. The forms. Ya gotta ask us to mail out a form and then you fill it in and then, when we get it back, we send out a ballot for you to mark and then you mail that in.”
“Well then, you may as well not bother. The mail plane isn’t reliable in the winter and even when it gets in, the people have to come in from miles around in small boats. If they take their mail home first, they may not get back to the post office for another month.”
“Well, look on our website in a few days. We’ll have a downloadable form that can maybe save that first step.”
“Yeah. Great. Trouble is, half the folks don’t have e-mail or internet. No service up here.”
“Hmm………well, I can maybe send up a bunch of forms to the post office and have that sent out without waiting to be asked? Give me the post office phone number. I’ll have my assistant arrange it.”
“Well, it’s a good idea. But the post office doesn’t have electricity. Not even lights. Or a bathroom. There is no one to phone, ’cause there ain’t no phone. Can we just come in any old time and vote? Most everyone will get into town at least once within the month. That should get the bulk of us.”
“Well, I guess………..but they’ll have to prove their identity. Real proof. And their address. Not just a PO Box. Real proof of address.”
“Well now, that seems fair. ‘Cept no one has a real street address, ya know? We don’t got no streets. No street lights. No stores. No water. No police. No fire protection. No amenities. Only thing we got is “!@&^^$$” taxes. No offense.”
“Well, can’t you just write in a description or something? Like 3rd cardboard box under the bridge or old rotting houseboat on the beach or something?”
“That might work fine for ol’ Bill. He’s the only one living in a hollow tree trunk on the north side. And Tiny and his wife are the only ones living on the top deck of a sunken boat in East bay. But it might not work for the big cheese CEO with his 5000 square feet of marble and beams palace or that reeal purty place of Michelle Pfieffer, the actress. So, I dunno. Can we just address our ballot to that ‘big ol’ government building with all the blood-suckin’ sloths in it? Would they hone in on you pretty quick?”