Standing a few steps from the Poll 53 table in the Murphy Community Centre this morning, just after 9:30 a.m., watching Olivia vote, I had tears in my eyes.
The tears had many tributaries.
Olivia finds choice-making really, really, really hard. It is her kryptonite. What is voting but big hairy choice-making, the choice-making of all choice-making. But she did it.
This is Olivia’s first post-transition election, and the voter identification card arrived with her old name on it, a source of great frustration for her in ways that non-trans people may find difficult to grasp the depth of. This was almost a deal-breaker, but thanks to a helpful advance team of supporters, excellent Elections Canada staff at the Murphy Centre, and helpful Elections Canada policies, we were able to right things: upon arrival she was able to fill out a name change form with her proper name, and vote as such; the data will also, in theory, flow upstream to the National Register of Electors, so this was a one-time thing.
This was the first election Olivia voted in since Catherine died. Catherine was there for the first time she voted; this time it was just the two of us.
And, democracy. It’s humbling. How can it not bring tears to your eyes to witness its mechanics in operation.
In the end, I am just so, so proud of my daughter.
I accidentally ended up being the “runner” for Darcie Lanthier’s Green campaign, responsible for picking up the “bingo sheets” that record the sequence number of people who’ve voted and entering them into the Green Party “get out the vote” system; it was in doing so that I realized that on my second visit to the poll I’d accidentally been handed duplicate sheets, ones intended to go to other parties. I quickly returned them to the polls, and arrived to find a (friendly) APB being put out on me. Once things were righted, I realized I never would have discovered that without Olivia having voted.
At 8:30 p.m. I’ll go into the cone of silence to observe the count as Darcie’s representative: if you’ve never done that before, I highly encourage you to volunteer at your next opportunity. Observing the count is like mainlining democracy: there’s something about watching the ballot boxes get unsealed, and each vote counted, one by one, watched by invested eyes, that transports it from the mechanical to the magical.
I too experienced the magic of the count last night. I worked the election as a Registration Officer then tallied as a couple of wonderful young people managed the count. I was very moved by their excitement and reverence for the process.
I shared count-observing duties with a fresh-faced young Conservative; our reverence for democracy somehow transcended the fundamental differences in our political worldview.