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Niagara-on-the-Lake
Friday, December 9, 2022
Letter: Continually caught in a voters’ list conundrum

Dear editor:

The good news is I have received a voter information card. The bad news is they’ve still got my name wrong.

For several elections after I moved here 26 years ago everything went swimmingly.

Then the election gods gifted me a middle initial. I have never had a middle name. When voting at the former Parliament Oak school I always pointed out the error to the returning officer.

I didn’t want to be charged with voting under false pretences, did I? I also called the Elections Canada office. Each time I was assured the list was now changed and my old identity would be back.

Except it wasn’t. I can only assume one of the election gods said, “Let’s fix this sorehead,” so they took me off the list altogether.

Take it from me, if you dutifully tick the box on your income tax return to ensure you are on the voter lists, you’re wasting your time. I once recounted my tale of woe to then-MP Rob Nicholson campaigning outside Lococo’s.

“Call my constituency office,” he said. “They’ll straighten it out.”

“No,” said his assistant on the phone, “we can’t have anything to do with the voters' list.”

So I had to register every time I went to vote and would be assured that it would never happen again. Except it did, reaching ludicrous proportions a couple of elections ago.

It was decreed that voters in the small pocket of Old Town where I live would not vote with everyone else at the community centre but trek outside town to a Hunter Street address. I can see the community centre from my upstairs windows and walk there in under 10 minutes.

Not having a voters card, I went to the community centre anyway. Told that I had to vote where I was registered, I pointed out that I wasn’t registered anywhere so why couldn’t they register me there?

No dice, since my street address wasn’t on the list for that poll. I said words to the effect of, “So, I have to walk to my house, get in the car and drive back past this poll to get to another poll where I’m not registered anyway.”

Yup.

For the first time ever, I didn’t vote.

Before the last election I bearded the lion in its den, the Elections Canada office in Niagara Falls. The person in charge went through the usual process and gave the usual assurance. Then she said, “Would you like to vote now?”

Yes, please, I said.

Today’s mail at least confirms I am registered to vote. But how did that pesky initial find its way back?

Don Cameron

NOTL