A different election era


(Council candidates and other spectators await results Monday in the main council chamber.)

As we continue to unpack Brockville's municipal election, let's get another thought out of the way: none of us are particularly pleased with the 21st Century Election.

You see, in the old days of the 20th Century (in which we can include the last decade as a sort of transition phase), watching elections had drama.

Results would come in poll by poll, leading to ups and downs, early dominance followed by last-minute reversal, unexpected surges, even calls for recounts.

It gave everyone involved a bit of time to prepare for the eventuality of victory or defeat.

Now, with all of Brockville's election done electronically, the final results are the only results, and they come in all at once.

There will still be room for drama in larger places where Internet voting still requires different areas to file results separately.

In Brockville, however, the political candidate of the 21st Century must be ready to jump into the pool at a moment's notice without knowing whether the water will be warm and welcoming or heart-stoppingly cold.

It's a new era, and so we all must adapt or fade.

Still, I will give credit where credit is due.

Brockville's introduction to this crueler election age happened in 2010, with the sudden arrival into the main city council chamber of a tech guy bearing a USB stick. He looked at the reporters in the room and quietly said: “Here's your Kodak moment.”

That moment was quite a picture, indeed.

The results went up on the screen in alphabetical order. In other words, people in the room had to squint up at the screen and count the results one by one, figuring out in their heads who had won for mayor, and who the top nine finishers were in the council race.

It was a terrific way to point out our society's shockingly nonchalant attitudes toward numeracy, but a freaking lousy way to cap an election.

On Monday, city staff did a formidable job. Not only were the results posted in numerical order, but the council-elect was bolded in yellow.

In the name of the entire press corps (on Monday, we were a party of three), I say: Thank you!

And now, my suggestion for a new way to restore some drama to the 21st Century Election.

Since that drama now resides not in the ups and downs of results trickling in, but in a Big Reveal, why not put those results in an envelope, to be opened at the podium by a smashing gentleman in a tuxedo and a beautiful woman in a sequined dress?

We gentlemen and ladies of the press corps might even volunteer to drumroll on the media table.