Ottawa ACORN Members Launch Equal Access to Voting Campaign
Posted June 20, 2014
Ottawa ACORN kicked off a new campaign on Friday June 20 to increase access and voter turnout for the municipal election this fall.
Posted June 20, 2014
Ottawa ACORN kicked off a new campaign on Friday June 20 to increase access and voter turnout for the municipal election this fall. Over 60 members showed up for launch led by Vanier Chair Ria Rinne. Rinne explained, “ACORN members believe that there should be more polling stations in Vanier, specifically Vanier North (aka the Bermuda Triangle of Vanier), so that it is no longer under-served with regards to voting accessibility and also availability. Our members in the area are low-income, seniors, disabled, students, working people who deserve better access and availability to voting.”
The lack of polling stations in Vanier is members’ main concern. According to the City of Ottawa, the voter turnout in Ward 12 Rideau-Vanier in the 2010 election was 39% – this is the lowest percentage in the city. The focus is on Ward 12 (Rideau-Vanier), which is made up of three specific areas (Vanier proper, Lowertown, and Sandy Hill). Among these three areas, Vanier proper has the highest population and has the largest space, yet the students researching the report found that the number of people per municipal polling station is higher in Vanier than in the two other areas of ward 12 Rideau Vanier (i.e., Lowertown and Sandy Hill).
Ottawa ACORN members want the city to create:
- A written, enforceable, city-wide public policy for the locating of polling stations based on population density; and that any city guidelines and policies on the locating of polling stations be made public and written in plain English and French.
- Polling stations remain open 10am-8pm without reduction in hours.
In the members’ “Speak Out”, several Vanier ACORN members expressed excitement to get involved in the campaign and not quit until the Mayor and officials take low income voters seriously and increase access and availability. Vanier members – such as Ray Noyes – took part in the member testimonies; Ray indicated that he would like to see a polling station at the school near him in Vanier simply because there are several people living in the buildings around him on disability who need closer access.
As members move forward, the main message they will carry to City Hall: low voter turnout should be addressed and especially in the lowest income areas of the city, such as Vanier.
Update: Click here to check out video highlights of the launch!