Election Education 101 from the Disability Action Hall

Accessing the voting booth isn’t always straightforward – from having the right voter ID, to arranging transportation, getting time off work, or accessing a wheelchair ramp.  Further challenges include accessing information, knowing what information is trustworthy, and getting it in plain language.

The Disability Action Hall consistently does great work around citizen and voter engagement.  Yesterday, I went with them to the Advance Polls so we could vote as a group, as seen in the picture below.  I definitely got a rush I don’t usually get when I vote alone.  Plus, there were pizza and cookies afterwards!

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Below is what members of the Disability Action Hall had to say last week about the voting process.  For the full post, click here – they have many more tips on voting on their website!

Many of us find barriers to voting. Here is what some members of the Disability Action Hall said at our last meeting:

  • Voting, its confusing, I don’t know who to vote for.
  • It is hard to tell the difference between city politics and provincial politics.
  • Hard to remember what to ID to bring.
  • Hard to figure out where to go and voting stations change.
  • We do not like the word incapacitated voter when reading help is all we need.
  • The information created by candidates is not easy to understand.
  • Information is not easy to access if you do not have the internet.
  • If you make  a mistake on the ballot, they don’t give you an eraser. What if I make a mistake? Can we  get a new one?
  •  If you are blind, you cannot read them, and was refused help to read out the card.
  • It would be easy for candidates to tell us what is a city issue and a provincial issue. It is confusing.
  • How do know if they are a good candidate?

Solutions: 

  • Use plain language.
  • Make it easier to hire people with disabilities to work at a polling station, we understand people have to take a test and do a workshop, take out the test.
  • For those who cannot read, have a reader with them.
  • Vote as a group. Have a party!
  • Change the word incapacitated voter to, “a voter who needs help to vote”.
  • Use Picture driven voter machines like the ones used in the States.
  • We like the bus that is driving around to help people vote at certain LRT stations.
  • More advertising prior to the voting day, not just the internet.
  • We need people to compile information important to people with disabilities. A score card, bingo card or report card are handy tools.
  • Got to a a debate and listen to the candidates. To learn when there is one in your area, Civic camp has a listing on their website.visit http://www.election.civiccamp.org/2013-forums
  • In the past, we have had more success educating ourselves as a group and voting as a group.

 

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