So I went to vote today at the advanced polling station for my riding. Foolishly, I decided to go right when it opened and many other folks had the same idea and it was raining hard so I was limp and soggy by the time I walked from my distant parking spot to the polling station. I know, First World Problems. Anyway, after the confusion of being misdirected by the wilted signage to a wrong entrance where there was a scrum of other confused voters I/we finally found the location. Inside, dozens of people were crowded inside a tight, L-shaped corridor that had two lines. My line-up had about 20 people ahead of me.
Seated on a chair right next to the line-up at the entrance to the registration booth was a woman. At first glance she looked like my friends’ mothers did when I was in high school, like she had a Thanksgiving turkey in the oven back at home, like she’d make your lunch every day. And yet she’s sitting there in the polling station, quietly doing nothing other than being the last thing a voter will see before going into the voting booth. Then on my second glance I notice that the badge on her sweater says The Conservative Party of Canada.
I made eye contact and asked, “Are you part of this process?”
“Yes, I’m one of the volunteers,” she said.
“Oh,” I said, “and why are you wearing that badge?”
“We’re supposed to wear our party’s badge,” she said.
“Is that right?” I asked, letting my disdain for turkey show through.
I know that it’s a violation of the Elections Canada rules for candidates to campaign at a polling station. And it’s probably against the rules–or exploiting a grey zone–for a Conservative party volunteer to be sitting there looking all motherly and innocuous with a political party sign on her chest.
Anyways, after a discreet half a minute, after she figured I’d lost interest in her, she stood up and disappeared into the crowd.