On October 15th, the OLIP Interns had the privilege of visiting the headquarters of Elections Ontario. Approaching the Elections Ontario facility on Rolark Drive, the building resembles the commercial warehouses that surround it. But enter the building, and you immediately feel a sense that crucial work goes on there.
Our visit began with a presentation from Elections Ontario Chief Executive Officer Greg Essensa. Greg’s overview of Elections Ontario was incredibly thought provoking. Casting a ballot seems like a simple enough action, but beneath the surface lies years of work that starts as soon as the previous election ends. Serving as CEO since 2008, Greg drew our attention to the technological advancements he has overseen in Ontario’s voting process, as well as the innovations still needed. One common thread throughout the presentation was the importance of his, and more broadly, Election Ontario’s non-partisan nature. This was something that we could relate to, since we recently started our placements and are beginning to understand what it is like to be a non-partisan entity in the setting of partisan politics.
It was additionally fascinating to hear about how the staff at Elections Ontario put the voter at the centre of everything they do. Tireless effort goes into making sure the voting process is as smooth as possible and that the needs of individual Ontarians are met, including those with disabilities, those in remote areas, people in hospitals and long-term care, and many more. There are millions of voters in Ontario, which means millions of circumstances, and Elections Ontario does its best to consider as many as possible.
Near the end of the visit, we toured the warehouse of Elections Ontario, which gave us a glimpse of just how large an undertaking an election is in Ontario. Within rows of skids were millions of sheets of election paper boxed and ready to be sent out next spring. Being able to see this aspect of the logistics gave us an appreciation for the many hours of work that go into setting up each voting station.
Thank you to Greg and the team at Elections Ontario for such an interesting tour. A special shout-out goes to Elections Ontario staffers and previous OLIP Interns Stephanie Lowe and Alex Stover, who made us feel very welcome on our visit. Good luck with the election next spring!