Letters Oct. 15: Long waits at advance voting, shredding documents, cruise-ship pollution

Ridiculous delays for advance voting

My wife and I (for the first time in our lives) had a rather difficult time voting in the federal election. We went to the Oct. 11 advance voting at Prospect Lake Community Hall at about noon and found ourselves in a lineup that went out the door into the parking lot. It took us at least 45 minutes to vote. We are 75 years old. This is our first complaint after 55 years of voting in Canada.

The staff of the polling station were polite and apologetic and as appalled as we and many others in the lineup were by the bureaucratic structure imposed by Elections Canada that resulted in the huge delays. The manager of the polling station had, while we were there, asked permission of Elections Canada to add one voting booth, but his request was denied. That simple change would have meant a greatly decreased lineup. Staff in the voting station were encouraging people to complain.

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There was no lineup for people whose last names began with the letters N to Z. But the lineup was long for those with surnames beginning with A to M, which added to the tension, as the N-Z people got constantly shunted ahead.

John and Anne Lowan

Lack of planning caused voting delays

Re: “Long waits for advance voting at some stations; clerical gaffe sends people away,” Oct. 11.

It wasn’t a clerical error that slowed down advance voting at the North Saanich Middle School on Oct. 11. It was a lack of planning.

The lineup on included many seniors and it was a very long and slow process as there was only ONE recording table and ONE booth available.

As I was leaving, a very frail old lady leaning heavily on her son’s arm went inside and came out almost immediately. She couldn’t face the wait and probably wouldn’t try again because this polling station would be even busier over the weekend.

I felt sad for her because it was her grandparents’ generation who fought so hard for women to be able to vote at all and it was her parents’ generation who went to war to keep it that way. Like most seniors, she wanted to vote, but it was made too difficult for her by not enough forethought.

Common sense should have told Elections Canada that Sidney’s large, aging population would take advantage of advance polling sites and they would need more than one recorder and one booth to speed things up.

Jan M’Ghee

A lot of complainers at advance vote

My three children (ages 18, 20, 22) and I decided to take advantage of the advance voting at Monterey Middle School on Oct. 11. We were in line for a grand total of 50 minutes (3:20 to 4:10 p.m.).

I would like to express my dismay and frustration at the attitudes of the fellow voters around us, predominantly older folks. There was a lot of complaining and negativity about the wait time.

It was my daughter’s first time voting and she was very excited, only to get irritated by the attitudes and complaints of her fellow voters.

To those people: If you are not happy about the wait time, come back another day. There are plenty of days to vote.

If you have a disability and cannot wait in line, apply for a special ballot that you can send in.

But please, for the sake of the others around you, keep your negativity inside, or better yet, take it home and spare the rest of us from listening to it.

Sharon Dickens
Oak Bay

There must be a better way to vote

I am appalled that, in this age of electronics and technology, our voting system is still medieval.

On Oct. 11, I went to the advance polls and stood in line for one hour and 20 minutes as the system processed one voter at a time.

At age 83, my body protests about standing for that length of time and reminds me that I do my banking, look after property and income tax, and pay bills online. But to vote, I am subjected to this ordeal.

I’m sure that, after the election, someone will question why there is such poor voter turnout.

Robert Heywood
North Saanich

Shredding of document made sense

Re: “Premier defends chief of staff over handling of allegations,” Oct. 9.

It seems to me that the premier’s chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, did the right thing, when he shredded a duplicate of a document that outlined allegations against a legislature official, rather than leaving it lying around to possibly be leaked to the media, after the original was handed over to police.

You would not want that document used for political purposes and possibly fouling up a police investigation.

Gregory Middleton
Salt Spring Island

Protect yourself by installing a dash cam

I urge all drivers to install a dash cam and a rear-facing cam. In the event of an accident, it will provide valuable evidence.

After a recent collision, my dash cam showed the other driver was 100% at fault. It was a minor fender bender, yet the cost to repair my vehicle was $2,800.

The video quality is excellent and provides a clear picture of the licence plate. I now have installed a camera on my rear window. Should a driver wish to drive dangerously close to my bumper I will have video evidence of the vehicle and driver.

Richard C. Parsley

Not a good day for changing traffic lights

Re: “Highway 1 gridlocked in Friday commute due to signal problem,” Oct. 11.

What was the Ministry of Transportation thinking when they decided that a Friday morning would be a good time to switch to a new traffic and traffic-light configuration?

Have they not heard of Murphy’s Law? Had they delayed it one day, far fewer people would have been affected.

I thought that they would have learned, as a year or so ago they switched the traffic light configuration on a weekday and it also caused gridlock (although not as bad as on Friday).

Jim MacLeod

Stop the pollution of idling cruise ships

Re: “Victoria mayor wants cruise ships to plug into shore power,” Oct. 11.

Thank you to Mayor Lisa Helps for finally addressing this ongoing pollution issue. Many times I have observed and photographed the brown cloud of exhaust from idling cruise-ship generators.

All the negative folks who say it will cost too much or will be too difficult, must ask themselves: Is Victoria not as capable as Juneau? Vancouver? Seattle? Are we a second-class backwater where pollution is ignored? 

If we are going to continue to reap the economic benefits of being a cruise-ship port, then we should do it right.

C. Scott Stofer

Idling cruise ships are a disgrace

Mayor Lisa Helps is starting to crack down on our city’s largest polluters and our major environmental disgrace: cruise ships, whose idling (and visits to our city) produce a staggering amount of pollution.

The harbour authority’s response is predictable: complain and stall. We’ll soon see who is really in charge.

Michel Desjardins

Defining ‘artist’ and ‘affordable’

Re: “Victoria ponders affordable housing for artists,” Oct. 11.

Who is an “artist” for the purpose of qualifying for “affordable housing?” Someone who creates things that sometimes are sold to the public? A person who creates things that they keep, or perhaps give away? Is there anyone who never creates things, even if it’s only meals? Let’s define “artist” — and let’s define “affordable” housing.

Ruth Robinson

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