Tonight, after the ‘Sport Abbotsford’ all-candidates meeting, someone from the audience thrust a damning piece of paper into my hands, that he said was “A LIST”.  A List that he said in dark tones, had been distributed to all the large churches in town, by one of the Council incumbents.

Ooooooh, shivery stuff.  A sinister, incriminating piece of paper that would certainly scorch any hand that touched it.  The fellow clearly expected me to be shocked.

 

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Okay, my name wasn’t on it, but other than that what is so wrong about people writing up lists of their preferences for voters who simply can’t find the time or strength to attend these public meetings?

Some years ago an elderly voter left her little list that someone had given to assist her in the polling booth.   Oh such outrage, such indignation at the creator of this odious list, and by extension there was great scorn heaped on the names of the candidates who were on her little handwritten piece of paper.

Let me break it to you.  Lists at elections are as common as flies.  People gather at coffee shops and bridge parties and golf greens to seek guidance from one another as to who can be trusted to serve the public good. Candidates looking for your vote might promise you blue skies and lower taxes, and lots more stuff they can’t do.  So it’s hard to figure out which ones you can trust to even help you keep a roof over your head when it rains, and just hold taxes to the inflation rate.

I’ve worked a lot of elections and its exhilarating to see people get out and participate in choosing who will lead their country, province or municipality.  Many of them have little lists tucked in their pockets.

Lots of people are asking me who they should vote for on October 20th (or Advance polls), and so far I’m mostly able to tell them “Vote for me, and here’s some names you should avoid.”  The ideal is for people to talk by phone or converse by email or some other means.  Listening to all the candidates is meaningful and will hopefully reveal something of their character, beyond the noble being they want to portray.

And if communication with candidates for elected office is simply not an option, then LISTS compiled by trusted friends, imperfect though it is, is still better than nothing.

Democracy needs it’s people to be robustly informed and engaged in elections.  If lists between friends encourage more citizens to get out and participate in this great privilege of secret, intimidation-free ballots, ……..then up with LISTS.