On May 5th there was an election in Alberta. I woke up at 5:30am in the EWB office in Lilongwe, Malawi and could quickly and easily find out by exactly how much the NDP were leading as the polls closed. A year earlier Lucas and I had searched for hours trying to find information on the federal election in Malawi. Even when the results were posted there was contention about their validity for weeks.
While we’ve been in Nkhata Bay my host dad has brought up the elections last year a few times. He commented that one party might have hired the general manager of a major cell provider here to skew the results as they came in. I don’t know his source of information but I do know that if there are any errors in the results from the Alberta election they are from mistakes rather than corruption.
I was able to vote in advance because I knew that I would be out of the country. A lovely old lady who walked me through the process greeted me at the polling station. In Malawi, people had to wait for hours in order to vote. The EWB staff who were in the country during the election left the capital and stayed near the border in case there were protests and they had to leave the country.
Waking up on May 6th (in Malawi) first I was stunned by the results (the first change in Alberta’s government in ~40 years) and then deeply grateful for the accessible, trustworthy information that allowed me to witness them.