October 21, 2019
That was yesterday. The day of the 2019 Canadian Federal Election.
I was hired by Elections Canada to be a Central Poll Supervisor at a polling place.
While there, I got to register many 18 year old students voting for the first time. I got to assist elderly people who almost gave up on voting multiple times because they had been sent to the wrong place, or had a wrong address on their registration, or had walkers and wheelchairs and were just tired and ready to give up. I encouraged them all the way through and ensured that they could all vote.
I assisted people who were brand new citizens to this country, excited to show off their citizenship certificate and have a say in democracy for the first time in their life because their original country didn’t allow that. I deescalated tense situations. I alleviated pressure every time there was a lineup, and kept everyone as happy as possible.
I gave up my personal thoughts and opinions to be able to protect the rights and freedoms of everyone else. I worked hard to ensure that every person in that place was able to vote, no matter who they were voting for.
One of the best things that happened to me was when I got to assist multiple severely mentally and developmentally challenged individuals with their vote, making sure that they were able to vote just like everyone else. Too many times, these people are ignored and forgotten about, and I made absolutely sure that I went out of my way to ensure that their rights and freedoms in this democracy were respected and valued.
I was yelled at. Sworn at. Confronted. There were extremely grumpy and unruly individuals, and I deescalated them and made sure that they too, were able to cast their ballot.
I had amazing conversations with fellow poll workers, who cared about their role just as much as I did. I got to meet and interact with many many hundreds of voters. I solved problems and fixed clerical errors, ensuring the proper procedures at all times. I made sure that nobody in my polling place gave someone false information, and when mistakes were made, I went out of my way to assist those people and correct everything.
I was on my feet and run solid for 18 straight hours!!!
I oversaw the counting of the ballots. I phoned in the results of the vote. Never again will I look at that little line “12/159 polls reporting” the same way. It’s a minor indication to most people, and easily skipped. But never skip that line. That line represents thousands of people across this country who are giving of themselves for 12-18 hours that day. They are tired, hungry, and their minds are about to explode. Those people didn’t have to be there. They, like me, CHOSE to do this.
I am proud of my country. I am proud of my democracy. I am proud that there are people who care, and I am proud of myself. I did everything I could have possibly done to the absolute highest standard. I’ve always had a burning passion for democracy, and this was everything I ever dreamed of doing.
This was one of the best days of my life, and I have never felt so on fire.