Rock The Vote targets indigenous voters at Portage Place

Some aboriginal people are taking another look at the federal election after an indigenous group trying to get people to the polls was at Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg Tuesday.

'I never thought about it,' aboriginal voter said before meeting volunteers

Some aboriginal people are taking another look at the federal election after an indigenous group trying to get people to the polls was at Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg Tuesday. 1:53

Some aboriginal people are taking another look at the federal election after an indigenous group trying to get people to the polls was at Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg Tuesday.

Winnipeg Indigenous Rock The Vote (WIRTV) said many aboriginal voters don't think they have the proper identification.

Voters either need a driver's licence or two things that show your address and your name, according to Elections Canada.

"It could be some really uncommon things like you could have your debit card and your apartment lease or your debit card and your Manitoba hydro bill," said Lisa Forbes a volunteer with WIRTV.   
Wayne Mason, 61, volunteer with indigenous 'Rock The Vote' group wants other aboriginal people to get to the polls. (Chris Glover/CBC)

"So, think two items, that show your name and address. Don't think two ID, cause that'll throw you off," Forbes said.

Even people with no fixed address can vote; such as homeless people, people living on reserve, students in residence, or people who live in long term care homes. There's a new form this year these groups can get signed that counts as one part of the two part identification process.

Forbes said one thing that doesn't count as ID, is the voter identification card voters get in the mail. 

"Even though it shows your name and address - you can't use it," she said. 

'I just never thought about it,' voter says

The biggest barrier WIRTV encounters with aboriginal voters is disengagement and apathy. 

Aboriginal voter Megan Sumner, 23, has never even thought of voting before Tuesday because she didn't think it mattered. 

"No one has ever told me to vote, but I think what she's saying is good," Sumner said.  
WIRTV displayed a full list of what counts towards idenfitication that was provided by Elections Canada. The list includes: old pill bottles and government cheques. (Chris Glover/CBC)

After being stopped by WIRTV volunteers, the adult education student said she has changed her mind.

"I think I would vote, I mean she brought a lot of good points. If it really makes a difference, people should vote," she said.

Now that Sumner has committed to voting, the 23-year-old Lake St. Martin voter has some homework to do before the Oct. 19 vote.

"I don't know too much about it right now, but I could always learn about it."

About the Author

Chris Glover

CBC News Reporter

Chris spent half a decade as a political reporter for CBC Winnipeg, but now that he's returned to his hometown of Toronto, he's excitedly sinking his teeth in all sorts of stories. Discovering new neighbourhoods isn't a 9 to 5 job and after years away, he has a lot to catch up on. When he's not running around the city with a camera, you can find him on the island soaking up the sun or riding the trails along the Don River.

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