Toronto Programs·Metro Morning

Getting the vote out in Humber River-Black Creek

In the riding with one of the lowest voter turn-out rates in the previous two elections, a Brampton man has been canvassing -- not for a particular candidate -- but just to get out the vote.

1,100 voters pledge to come out on Oct. 19

A boy rides his bike as he arrives at a school that is being used as a polling station in the Alberta election in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 5, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Jamil Jivani has been canvassing in the riding of Humber River-Black-Creek since the election campaign began. He's not supporting any particular candidate. Instead, he's reminding people to go the polls.

​The Brampton native told Metro Morning on Monday that he was drawn to that community because it has one of the lowest voter turnout rates of any riding in the GTA. 

The visiting professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, started a voter engagement campaign, JaneandFinchVotes that he hoped will change voter turnout for elections to come.

More than 1,100 people in the riding, former called York West, have promised they will vote this election. He estimated 150-200 people have voted already in the advance polls. Though the number may not seem substantial, Jivani's enthusiasm is steady.

"It's been a great experience: we've knocked on over 4,000 doors, distributed over 7,000 pieces of literature and made over 1,000 phone calls," said Jivani. "We feel like we've created a buzz in the community."

Candidates in the riding are the Darnel Harris (NDP), Keith Jarrett (Green), Judy Sgro (Liberal) and Kerry Vandenberg (Conservative).

Whoever wins, he said he wants constituents to remember voting is a communal responsibility.

"If your community or area of the city doesn't vote, then politicians aren't going to be likely to put a subway there, or a community centre or attract job investment," he said. "There's a way that impacts you and others you care about. That's what we've been trying to push and that's what's been resonating with you."

Some advance polling numbers have reported as much as 70 per cent jump from previous elections.

CBC partnered with Google to create Pledge To Vote, a national campaign that has a mandate similar to Jivani's work, of getting more people to the polls,