Well, we’ve now had the first state- or province-wide vote on the issue of Daylight Saving Time, and unfortunately the result did not go the way I had hoped as voters rejected a proposal by the narrowest of margins.
That’s right. More than a million votes cast, and the margin was fewer than 3,000 votes.
With a margin that close, nobody can claim a huge mandate for anything, but I think there are a few things we can take away:
- The idea of #LockTheClock is very popular. Other than me writing a couple of blog posts, there was absolutely no organized proponent organization or message or effort of any kind. Even so, nearly half the people voted for it.
- There are two groups of people who voted no, those who want to keep changing the clock, and those who favor permanent Standard Time. So, those who want to have permanent summer time are about as many as those two groups put together, even in Canada where the winter nights are extremely long.
- I was especially interested in the town of Lloydminster, which straddles the border of Alberta (where they voted on the DST issue) and Saskatchewan (which has already decided to #LockTheClock in Permanent summertime). Voters there approved the idea, showing that people who know more about it know that not changing clocks is a very good thing.
- There are some Alberta-specific politics that seem to have influenced this vote negatively.
- I wonder if the vote would have gone differently if it was right after the Fall Back time change, when everyone has to leave work in the dark at 5 p.m.
Before the language was announced, I had pushed for the idea of asking the voters two questions: Do you want to stop changing the clock? and, If so, which time zone do you want to lock into? It’s hard to say for sure, but my hunch is that the first question would have won by a wide margin, and then the second vote would have probably gone for permanent summer time.
I haven’t seen anything like exit polling, but for argument’s sake, let’s say that half of those who voted no like changing the clocks twice per year, and half want permanent Standard Time. In that case that means that 25 percent of the votes would go for permanent ST, and half would go for permanent DST, leaving the last fourth up for grabs. Let’s be generous and say that the vote would split evenly, that would still mean a 2-1 win for permanent DST. Hard to see a lot of bad news in that.
I had really been hoping that we’d see a convincing result, but we just did not get that. If it had been sweeping, then maybe it would have been a message to the rest of the world. But given that it is not exactly the most populous province in a not very populated country that has extremely long nights in the winter, well, I don’t think this evenly split vote is going to be sending much of a message.
Not all hope is lost, however. With the fall change to the clocks coming soon my inbox is again filling up with requests from reporters and lawmakers. Maybe if the U.S. is able to Lock The Clock, Canada will want to hop on board the sanity train and join us in a future where we don’t have to change the clocks twice per year.