Citizens across B.C. are entering polling stations today to place an “X” beside their preferred provincial candidate.
But those who voted by mail didn’t have it nearly as easy.
Under Elections B.C. rules, they must write in the name of their candidate on the ballot.
The same is true for people who voted in other constituencies in the advance poll.
Many people watching the television news last week were amused when the premier, Christy Clark, made an error on her ballot.
She wrote her name rather than a candidate in the Vancouver-Fairview constituency in which she lives.
Clark quickly pencilled in Margaret MacDiarmid.
But what about all those seniors living in long-term care homes and other facilities who vote by mail?
Many of them are less able than the premier to write in a person’s name.
They may suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or Parkinson’s disease or other conditions that might interfere with their penmanship. And their memory isn't always what it used to be—sometimes because they're loaded up with prescription medications.
Despite this, they’re deprived of a chance to simply mark their ballot with an “X” like the rest of us.
Keep in mind that many residents of long-term care facilities who voted by mail might not like receiving just one bath a week.
And they might have liked the NDP’s promise to double the number of baths that they’ll get each week in public care facilities.
But if they're incapable of actually writing the candidate’s name out in full on the mail-in ballot, they won't have a chance to express themselves in this election.
Elections B.C. should fix this situation before the next campaign.
Just because someone votes by mail—or, like the premier, chooses to mark their preference at an advance poll outside of their constituency—doesn’t mean that they should be confronted with a different ballot from everyone else.
That’s not fair.