Saturday, January 14, 2006

I Shot The Sheriff...

But I did  not shoot the deputy.

That gives me some measure of comfort, as I've been signed up to be a Deputy Returning Officer for the election on the 23rd.

When I was approached about it, I thought- Sure! Deputy Returning Officer... how hard can that be? The Deputy is always the foil for the Sheriff. There'll be someone else in charge. I'll be the helper. Great! No problem!

I find out that the  Returning Officer, the Head Honcho, the Guy In Charge, the "Sheriff" if you will, is actually in charge of the whole district, and he has a little army of Deputies out there running the actual Polling Stations.

So, now I find myself attending a training session, and growing increasingly alarmed as the enormity of the position I've undertaken comes home to me. I leave armed with a training manual, a ballot box and  voting screen to assemble, and echoes of "Phone Barry" reverberating through my head. (Barry is the Returning Officer... if anything untoward happens, "Phone Barry!") I, and I alone, am permitted to handle your vote... if you happen to be in that polling district. I must set up the Polling Station. I must take it down. I must count the ballots. If I am not there, (if I must attend a call of nature, for example) the Polling Station will be temporarily closed. If there's a dispute with a Candidate's representative with regards to the acceptability of a ballot, I have the final say. That's a lot of responsibility!

I am having a recurring nightmare that on election day all the results will be in except for Prince Albert North,  where there has been a seventh counting of the ballots and the Deputy Returning Officer has been remanded for  questioning.


  1. Chris has done that job here in the village for a number of elections. Well done that woman - I hope you're paid well for it.

  2. you will do fine. I worked in the elections office for the last provincial election, and i know you can do the job.

  3. I know, I know. It's a scary thing. I worked for the Returning Officer (City Clerk) for municipal elections many moons ago. It was an exciting night when the returns were phoned into the main returning office and I got to make the tallies and hand them over to the boss who in turn handed them in to the local radio/TV station. A grand evening it was with an enormous amount of (b)political (s)electricity. Yes, and lots of it, if you get my drift!!!

  4. We do actually read your blog, Lauralea, contrary to what you might have thought after we questioned you about this Deputy stuff tonight. It seem the PrairieFusion RSS feeds aren't updating...perhaps I need to adopt Randall's model of reading blogs: actually checking the site itself...

    Anyway, good luck to you and your posse.

  5. "...perhaps I need to adopt Randall's model of reading blogs: actually checking the site itself..."

    Works for me too.