This past week was the interns’ first full introduction to their placements. It was an intense week, with all of the interns balancing our placements, meetings, and writing of our final paper abstracts. Luckily, Friday was here before we knew it. After our morning OLIP meeting, the interns and Dr. Jacek headed out to Scarborough to visit Elections Ontario, to get an inside look at the electoral machinery for the province.
We were lucky enough to get an in depth presentation on the responsibilities of the office by Loren Wells, who was exceptionally well-versed in her knowledge of Elections Ontario. The interns also had the chance to direct questions to the Chief Electoral Officer himself, Greg Essensa. A lot of our questions focused on the proportional representation referendum that recently passed, as well as whether Elections Ontario had a role to play in improving voter turnout.
Finally, we were given a tour of the immense facility. The front of the building houses the desks and offices of numerous employees, while the back is a warehouse that stores the equipment needed to run successful elections in Ontario. The tech-rooms are huge in their own right, and are backed up to ensure no IT problems can interfere with the running of a smooth election.
A number of the interns have had previous exposure to theories of electoral machinery and voting in university, and it was a pleasure to experience the place that works constantly to ensure the success of Ontario’s elections.