The Pundits

He took his sweet time, but at last Premier Ujjal Dosanjh announced a date for the next provincial election – Wednesday, May 16. That’s May 16. Mark it on your calendar unless you are comfortable with a Liberal majority, because unless voters come out to support candidates of other parties, that’s exactly what’s going to happen. Dosanjh is already running his campaign as the underdog, and other political parties have all but admitted that this race is more about pride and providing an alternative to the Liberals than actually winning seats.

And if you’re a Liberal supporter, don’t take their victory for granted. They were the favourites in the last election, and won the popular vote, but the NDP still squeaked into the Legislature with a comfortable majority.

There’s nothing worse than showing up at the polls on election day to discover that your name is not on the list. Suddenly a ten-minute effort turns into an hour as you wait in line with all of the other unregistered schmoes to get your ballot. Register in advance at Elections B.C. to avoid all the hassle.

While your there, you can also find out where you can vote, and read a little on the candidates that are going to be on the ballot in your electoral area.

(If you’re the Chief Electoral Officer or the Deputy Chief Electoral Officer, incarcerated in a penal institution serving a sentence of two years or more, or are prohibited for voting because of a prior conviction for a serious election offence such as bribery, then don’t bother – you’re not allowed to vote! The same applies if your under 18, have been in B.C. for less than six months, or are registered in another electoral district.)

Now that you’ve established your right to vote, you can sit back, pop some corn and enjoy the degrading public spectacle that is a constitutional democracy – a kind of WWF Smackdown with ties and reading glasses.

One of the best parts of an election, besides the debates and the smear tactics employed by the candidates, is the election coverage of political pundits – seasoned, cynical and embittered journalists who provide play by play coverage and analysis of the election.

The Vancouver Sun, like all Southam papers, is well-staffed with columnists and editorialists of every stripe and colour. You may not always agree with their views, but with a good columnist that’s hardly the point – unlike the daily news, which focuses on the five W’s and the How, a columnist draws comparisons and provides context that prompts the reader to think, to internalize, and, hopefully, to react. By agreeing or disagreeing with the content, you are reaching political conclusions of your own that can help you decide how to spend your vote.

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