Finding Joy at the Polls

Posted on behalf of Jessica Iverson

Did you know that in addition to the various Senate and curriculum-related services our unit provides we also support a range of elections and search committees for the University and community partners? Indeed, from student unions to Faculties, from the Senates to the Board of Governors, from AAPS to the Pension Administration Office, as UBC’s Returning Officer I conduct elections of all sorts.

Amidst this deluge of democracy, I find moments in the process that spark joy. (Point of clarity: such instances of elation are completely unrelated to the outcomes of the polls! Now where was I…) Chief among these is something that is actually motivated by that which does not spark joy: paper ballots. While most elections I conduct are entirely electronic with voting occurring online, some races still do allow for paper ballots, which requires manual processing. More specifically, this means that I am responsible for counting all paper ballots once…and only once.

Lest this conundrum introduced by paper ballots—this opportunity for oversight and error—threaten the integrity of an election, I have devised an easy peasy lemon squeezy 36-ish-step process for avoiding the pitfall while simultaneously sparking joy: THE ORIGAMI ELEPHANT. The concept is simple: fold every paper ballot into an elephant once counted. Why an elephant? Because they never forget, of course!

Let’s take a look at some paper ballots, pre- and post-sparking joy…

  1. Here are DEFINITELY MY HANDS* sorting through UBC PAPER BALLOTS**. Note the decided lack of joy.

  1. Here I am processing the votes in our election system.


  1. Here I am following the easy peasy lemon squeezy 36-ish-step process for turning each paper ballot into an origami elephant.


  1. And here is DEFINITELY MY ORIGAMI ELEPHANT***. Note the overwhelming joy this little creation sparks.

And that, folks, is how I find joy at the polls!

DISCLAIMER: No origami elephants were folded in the writing of this ES Connected entry. The details provided herein are satirical in nature and not an actual reflection of University election processes.


*Not my hands.

**Not UBC paper ballots.

***Not my origami elephant.

2 Replies to “Finding Joy at the Polls”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *