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Federal election October 21 and more than 700 are needed to work

Posted: September 25, 2019


Federal election October 21 and more than 700 are needed to work


Once every four years, Ruth Wall becomes a pied piper of sorts – no pipe and no musical notes played, but as the Kildonan-St. Paul recruitment Officer for the October 21st federal election, she needs 700-plus people to follow her lead and work on election day.

It’s no small feat, but this will be Wall’s fifth turn as a Recruitment Officer for Elections Canada in 20 years, so it’s something she enjoys.

"I really enjoy it, I enjoy meeting new people,” said Wall, an East St. Paul resident.

"It’s also nice to see everyone…I have people who have worked almost all of the elections with me. It’s a small group, but I know right off the top of my head that I can get 100 people to work with me.”

Wall has worked all kinds of elections – municipal and provincial as well as federal – for more than 40 years. She says her father was very into politics and she got involved at a young age.

Wall, an administrator and former teacher, says she used to work in the polling stations but then some friends got her interested in the Recruitment Officer position, and the rest is history.

She laughs at the suggestion that she and her friends are election junkies, but admits there is a camaraderie that develops amongst those that work together on election day.

She puts friends and couples together for the day, so they can work side by side and spend time chatting when things slow down.

"If you have a friend or a husband or a wife and you are with them, it’s a nice day,” she says.

"There are some quiet times in between the rush hours.”

Wall will need 706 people to work on federal election day at more than 60 polling places and 172 polling stations.

She says she tries to place workers at the polling place closest to their home, so the people who come into vote are their friends and neighbours.

"Often their neighbours come in and they say hi, so it’s a meeting place for them too,” Wall says.

And though she needs 706 workers, she’ll have more than that because there’s always the chance some will get sick, or won’t be able to show up for some reason.

"One time a lady fell on the way in and half way through the day was in pain, so I had to replace her.”

If you are 16 years old or older, you can apply to work on election day. Students can’t work the day unless it’s part of a school project, so if they speak to their teachers they might be able to.

They can, however, work the advance polls, which take place on October 11, 12, 13, 14 – Thanksgiving weekend.

Many Canadians chose to vote at advance polls during the last election, leading to long lines and wait times. The number of advance polls in the riding has been increased to 13 from 11 four years ago, and there will be two polling stations at each. In East St. Paul, advance polls are at the Henderson Legion and the Municipal Council Chambers.

It’s a great job for young people, and has the potential to get them more involved in the political process.

Everyone goes through three hours of training, which they are paid for, and then are paid for the days they work at advance polls or on election day. There are five different positions – Deputy Returning Officer, Poll Clerks, Registration Officers, Information Officers and Central Poll Supervisors – and you can go to elections.ca/jobsto learn more about how to apply.




New this year; voting at Service Centres

New this year, votes can be cast at any Elections Canada Service Centre, anywhere in Canada, as soon as the offices opens on September 15th. 

It’s a convenience designed to obviously encourage more voting, but also to accommodate Canadians who might be travelling this fall and away from their home riding. 

If you live in East St. Paul but are travelling in Saskatchewan or Alberta, you can just find a Service Centre in a Returning Office, and cast your vote. Voting at Service Centre offices closes six days prior to the October 21st election. 

The Kildonan-St. Paul Service Centre will open September 15th in the Garden City Shopping Centre across from the Food Court. You can have a Service Agent check if you are on the Voters’ List, add you to it if you are not, then give you a Special Ballot to vote. You just require a Drivers’ License or two pieces of Identification, one with your current address.


Picture:  Ruth Wall, working her fifth Federal Election as a Recruitment Officer this October

 

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