Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 11.03.05
Quebec City


Nervous voter, not dead yet

Municipal elections are coming up Sunday. That makes me nervous.

No, I'm not worried about who'll be the next mayor in Quebec City.

Actually I don't think it really matters a whole lot.

All the candidates seem to be equally qualified to lead us and tax us and generally do what they want.

What worries me is whether I'll actually be allowed to vote.

You see, I have an irrational fear of being left off the voters list.

Oh, I got the little note from the Bureau du President d'Election telling me where to go to vote.

And I got the lists of candidates for mayor and of my potential councillors.

But a lot can go wrong between my house and the voting booth.

I could end up dead. Don't laugh. It happens.

Just last month Heather Snider from Calgary ended up dead and she didn't even know it.

The first inkling she had of her untimely demise was when she received a note from the Canada Revenue Agency addressed to her estate.

It asked for a copy of her will and the name of her estate's executor before her 2004 tax return could be filed.

This, as you can imagine, was disconcerting to Ms. Snider, a student at the University of Calgary.

And it works both ways.

An analysis of voting records in New Mexico recently turned up more than 5000 people still on the electoral list who were dead.

As a matter of fact, George Bush might not be president now if better track had been kept of those who by all rights should have been considered 'former' voters.

It all depends on how many of the 181,000 dead people on the voters lists in six swing states voted Republican in the last election.

Mind you, a lot of them were still apparently collecting Social Security benefits since Washington admits to paying out $31 million last year to people who had already gone to meet their Maker.

I guess if you're still getting money from the government you might as well vote even if you're six feet under.

And if you think my fear is irrational, remember the last couple of referendums.

Thousands of Quebecois' right to vote was questioned by scrutinizers -- particularly if the potential voter was elderly.

I suppose though that Heather Snyder should be happy it was just the taxman that inexplicably killed her off. It could be worse.

At St. Mary's mercy Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan recently, eighty-five hundred patients were told they were dead by the hospital's computer.

Not satisfied with permanently deleting half the hospital's patient list, the computer also told Social Security the eighty-five hundred were now among the dearly departed.

So, come Election Day I'll hold my breath until the ballot is actually marked and stuffed.

As St. Mary's mercy patient Cathy Uhl said, '"You could say I was surprised. I was pretty sure I wasn't dead, but you never know."