Results blackout lifted in social media age

So the decision has been made to allow all of us here on the West Coast to know the election results from the east before our polls close

So the decision has been made to allow all of us here on the West Coast to know the election results from the Eastern Canada before our polls close on election night, Oct. 19.

It’s hard to argue with the reasoning.

The blackout was put in place so that western voters had the chance to cast their ballots without being influenced by what has happened in the east. At times, given riding numbers and the like, the election has already been decided by voters in the east before our polling stations here in B.C. have even closed, let alone the votes counted.

One could see how that could tend to discourage voting altogether — why cast your ballot if it doesn’t matter? — not a desirable outcome. Even though, in those situations, your vote is still important because choosing a representative for your riding is important, regardless of who is going to be the prime minister. After all, we don’t vote for prime minister anyway.

But with voting numbers being as disappointing as they are — with almost half of Canadians not bothering — anything that could discourage voters from exercising their franchise is something the be avoided.

But then along came social media.

Sure, there was always the option of calling someone in Eastern Canada is you were really desperate to know the results ahead of time.

But the advent of Twitter and Facebook and ubiquitous cell phones were something else entirely.

It was like trying to stop a tidal wave with a thimble.

The only real effect was to lock official media out of being able to cover what everyone was already talking about until the discussion was mid-way.

So this year mainstream media providers in the west will be joining giving us the score along with everyone else and their dog who likes to tweet.

It’s up to us to show that we can be responsible with this new privilege and still show up at the polls.

Even if the prime minister’s chair is decided already, the seat count isn’t — not until we’ve had our say.

So make sure you get out there and let everyone know how much B.C. matters.

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