Monday, October 05, 2015

"Of Course!"

Photo Description: The yellow Election's Canada sign pointing to a polling station. The disability access symbol is on the sign, which is pointing downwards.
Voting is a serious matter for both Joe and I. We are voters. We try to be informed voters as well. To us, voting is a precious won right and a vitally important responsibility. So when we realized that we were away from home on voting day and that we would barely make it back for the advance polls we decided to take advantage of 'special ballot' voting. This means that up until the 13th of October we can go to Elections Canada Office of the Returning Officer and cast a ballot. We did this yesterday. I had called ahead to see about the hours and the accessibility and when I asked about access the woman was almost insulted, "Of course we are accessible, sir, of course we are." I didn't say anything but in my experience there's lots of places where you'd assume, incorrectly, "of course," to access.

We were informed about the 'special ballot' voting in a mailing that we received from Elections Canada. What was cool about that mailing was that it had a list of the accessibility features of both the advance poll and the voting day polling stations. I popped over to the accessibility page on the Elections Canada website and was pretty impressed. I really liked being able to type in my postal code and find out everything I needed to know about polling stations. I found the list of mandatory (and preferred) features used in selection polling stations interesting. I liked the fact that accessibility was more than just getting in, there was information on assistance with marking a ballot and for sign language, amongst other languages, and that they could take requests in 110 languages.

We arrived just a little after one and went through the voting process, which is different, but not difficult, we discovered for 'special ballots' and then slammed our vote into the voting box. The whole thing was easy because access was simply an 'of course' and there was nothing to worry about. I will admit, though, when it came our turn, I asked Joe to go first just to check out the area for accessibility, I have a large chair after all. In the end Joe was still in, finishing up voting, when it came to be my turn. It was the same woman who had come to get Joe and when I was in her office having my ID checked, I relaxed.

It was an "of course."

I voted, freely - which means something a little different for a disabled voter.


clairesmum said...

Voting is such an important right - and responsibility. This branch of your government has got it just right, at this location. Kudos to them, and hoping they are training others in other places.

Unknown said...

Wouldn't it be grand if anytime that question is asked it's met with an incredulous "of course"? I'm so heartened that at one site there was no issue at all with accessibility, and that you got to do something important both socially and to you personally hassle-free.