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Early bird gets the vote

Saturday morning, 7:30.

I set out for a walk on a route I use a fair bit. West from my apartment building at Fifth and Tabor, along Fifth. But instead of going as far as Foothills, my normal route, I turn north before I get to the 5,863,726 election signs (approximately) at Fifth and Foothills.

Instead, I turn onto Hill Street. It’s a crisp morning, kind of cloudy, but I’m in no hurry. Unusually, for one of my neighbourhood walks, I have a planned destination and a time to be there.

Even walking slower than I normally do, I get to D.P. Todd Secondary by about a quarter to eight. I know I’m in the right place for a couple of reasons: There are a lot of vehicles in the parking lot for a Saturday morning, and there are signs telling people that, yes, this is indeed a municipal voting location.

Strangely enough, that’s why I’m here.

The door to the school is already open, so I join a few other early birds in the foyer outside the gymnasium. A few minutes before 8 a.m. (the official opening of voting), one of the election officials asks if one of us wants to be the first elector.

A woman puts up her hand, and the official explains that she will have a couple of extra responsibilities. The biggest one is to verify that the voting machine at this location is working correctly. ( I assume that also means checking that it isn’t showing 30 ballots already cast.)

I get my ballot and a sanitized pen and register. I have my pieces of ID ready, so the process is simple. I notice there’s a sample ballot at the desk, but a quick scan informs my trained investigative mind this is not the local ballot.

I don’t think Chris Hadfield, Celine Dion and Margaret Atwood are running in Prince George.

I step behind one of the many voting areas and fill out my ballot, then make my way to the voting machine. The first elector is still there, going through the verification process, but she’s soon finished, and shortly after that, I am stepping up to the machine.

I place my ballot in the machine (which looks something like a copying machine) and watch it disappear inside. The reading on the top informs me my ballot has been accepted.

I go back outside, happy to have done my part for the electoral process.

As if in congratulations, the sun breaks through as I make my way home.

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