During the 2008 federal election I was the first to arrive at the office. I would get there around 6 am, relieving the overnight media monitoring, who was always much peppier than I was – me having just woken up, and him being full of caffeine and adrenaline.
Upon arriving at the office, I had the pleasure of going to the white board and erasing a number to replace it with a lower one in sequence. Yes, I got to update the ‘E-‘ number.
It is a language spoken in war rooms across the country. The day the writ drops, you start at an E- and countdown until E-day (which is today in Ontario). In fact, 2008 was special because we had two writ drops – I was working a by-election that had just about a week left, and then the writ dropped on a federal election and we started back at E-36.
And then, of course, there was the 2015 election, which I did not work from the beginning, but topped out at 78 days. That is a hell of a long time. People working for the parties and the candidates are working long days, thinking about the election constantly, in their office with the same people constantly, eating too many carbs every day. It’s the roughest team-building exercise I’ve ever been through – but at the same time, the people I worked with are like family.
There were days when that countdown was the only evidence that time was actually moving.
(Fun fact I learned working a by-election in Montreal – in French E-Day is Jour-J, which, much like D-Day, stand for Jour-Jour or Day-Day).
Today is E-0 in Ontario. The end of a long, confusing campaign. There are lots and lots of people out there who are exhausted and hopeful (or not), but overall just want people to care. Want people to care and pay attention and vote.
So, please. Vote.