In preparation for the upcoming Federal Election on October 21, 2019 HPAP strived to make voting more accessible to individuals living in poverty who are often excluded from the democratic process.
To combat this inequity of representation at the polls, we decided to run Vote Pop-Ups. Vote Pop-Ups are mock polling stations with volunteers who engage people to discuss issues that are important to them, simplify the voting process, and encourage people to engage in voting. To run these Pop-Ups we used a toolkit from The Democratic Engagement Exchange – https://www.engagedemocracy.ca/.
We hosted our Pop-Ups in collaboration with five community organizations (Na Me Res, The 519, The Neighbourhood Organization, Sanctuary, and Community Outreach Services through Michael Garron Hospital). Three of five Pop-Ups were ran during drop-in meal programs.
We were privileged to have met many diverse individuals, several of whom had never voted before. During the events we discussed the benefits of voting and perceived drawbacks, the voting process, how to obtain ID and the variety of identification that is accepted for voting, and helped identify individuals’ specific polling stations.
We were also given the opportunity to learn more about what people felt were important issues in the upcoming election through our mock vote. Participants in the mock vote were given a ballot with the following issues listed:
- Indigenous Wellbeing
- Opioid Overdose Crisis
- Healthcare Access and Affordability
- Affordable Housing
- Income and Employment Insurance
- Climate Crisis
- Blank – an empty spot where participants could enter issues they felt were important and not listed
82 people participated in the mock vote. All most half of participants voted for all 6 listed issues. The issue with the most votes was Affordable Housing, which ~80% of voters selected.
The top four issues that people voted for that were not included on the ballot were:
- Seniors Care
- Mental Health Services
- Affordable Education
- LGBTQ2S+ Rights
Na Me Res is an Indigenous Men’s Residence that provides shelter, support, and chance to reclaim culture for indigenous men.
The 519 is a community centre dedicated to advocacy for LGBTQ2S population and hosts a wide variety of programs on site.
The Neighbourhood Organization supports low-income, marginalized and newcomer communities across Toronto. We specifically partnered with the Flemingdon Park branch.
Sanctuary aims to seeks to create an inclusive and healthy community for people often marginalized and offers a large variety of programs from drop-in meal programs to onsite medical care, and much more.
The Community Outreach Services are made up by a multi-disciplinary team that provides community-based mental heath services and psycho-social supports.