British Columbia

Downtown Eastside residents cast ballots at mobile voting stations in special advance poll

Residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside were able to cast their ballots in advance of the upcoming municipal election on Tuesday.

Initiative part of a series of accessible voting opportunities for marginalized residents and shut-in voters

A man stands in front of a door reading 'Voting Place'.
An advanced voting station is pictured at the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside were able to cast their ballots in advance of the upcoming municipal election on Tuesday.

Elections staff set up mobile voting booths inside the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) from 2 to 4 p.m. as part of an initiative to reach those who might otherwise be unable to vote.

"What we're hoping to do is connect with the folks who come to UGM regularly and make sure they have the opportunity to have their voices heard," said UGM manager Nicole Mucci in an interview on CBC's The Early Edition

It's one of many special voting opportunities held across the city that began in late September at a number of organizations, including charities, resource centres and long-term care homes, several of which are also in the Downtown Eastside.

"Any person who gets the opportunity to feel like their voice is being heard ... is a win," said Mucci. 

"People who do live in the Downtown Eastside … often feel like they are not heard, or unfortunately sometimes they feel tokenized when it comes to the election season."

A sign reading 'Voting Stations' is affixed to a barrier in a room.
An advanced voting station is pictured at the Union Gospel Mission in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday, October 4, 2022. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Mucci said those who do not have a permanent address or government-issued ID can still vote in other ways, including by presenting a government cheque stub from income assistance or getting another person to vouch for their identity. 

The City of Vancouver lists other items as potential forms of ID, including a prescription medication container, a hospital bracelet, a debit card or a utility bill. 

More information on the required voting ID can be found here. 

A spokesperson for the City of Vancouver said those who can't make it to any of the special voting opportunities in the Downtown Eastside can still vote in advance at the Carnegie Community Centre located at 401 Main Street on Oct. 5, 8, 11, or 13, or on election day on Oct. 15 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Gomez is a CBC writer in Vancouver. You can contact her at michelle.gomez@cbc.ca.

With files from The Early Edition

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