Hamilton

How do you reach people who don't vote? HCCI hopes this session works

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is holding a "vote pop up" next week to urge more people to vote in the fall federal election.
A woman marks her ballot in the riding of Vaudreuil-Soulanges, west of Montreal, on Oct. 19, 2015. The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion is partnering with the Democratic Engagement Exchange to hold a "vote pop up" in Hamilton. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

The Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) is holding a "vote pop up" next week to urge more people to vote in the fall federal election.

HCCI is partnering with Democratic Engagement Exchange at Ryerson University for a July 25 event, said program manager Kojo Damptey. Organizers hope residents, organizations and youth will attend who either don't vote very often, or who want to hold vote pop ups of their own.

"They'll learn the whole process of voting — what ID you need, what you need to bring, what the ballots and voting booth looks like," said Damptey, who describes it as "demystifying the voting process."

HCCI has put out the word to try to draw in clients from YWCA Hamilton, Speqtrum, The Space (formerly NGen youth centre) and other organizations. At the session, they'll talk about what issues matter to them, and how to translate that into casting a ballot for a particular party.

It's not partisan, Damptey said, and participants aren't steered toward any particular party. It's based on a model originally developed by the Samara Centre for Democracy in partnership with Elections Canada.

John Beebe is a senior adviser on the Democratic Engagement Exchange. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

Matthew Green, a federal NDP candidate in Hamilton Centre, is wrapping a contract as HCCI's executive director. Damptey said Green isn't involved.

"He has no participation in the elections portion of the work the HCCI is doing, for obvious reasons," Damptey said. "He hasn't been involved in any of the meetings, any of the planning, or any of the information that has been talked about or discussed."

John Beebe, a senior advisor to Ryerson's faculty of arts, says Democratic Exchange does "better than non-partisan. Elections Canada is involved."

"We don't even say what issues people should be thinking about because everybody has different priorities," he said.

"We ask community members what are issues they're concerned about and connect them."

Beattie said his team is partnering in about 20 training sessions leading up to the election, which is expected to be Oct. 21.

In 2015, eight million Canadians didn't vote, Damptey said. Here was the 2015 voter turnout in Hamilton ridings:

  • Hamilton Centre: 60.29 per cent.
  • Hamilton Mountain: 65.61 per cent.
  • Hamilton West, Ancaster, Dundas: 75.06 per cent.
  • Flamborough-Glanbrook: 70.31 per cent.
  • Hamilton East-Stoney Creek: 62.88 per cent.
  • Average Hamilton turnout: 66.63 per cent.

HCCI and Democratic Engagement Exchange will hold morning and evening sessions at the Hamilton Public Library's central branch.

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