People who have no fixed address in Port Alberni will still have a way to vote in the Saturday, Oct. 20 municipal election.
There is no voters’ list for the 2018 municipal election—voters have to bring two pieces of identification, including one with a signature, that prove both residency and identification. Proving residency can be difficult for someone who is without a home.
The Port Alberni Shelter Society and Canadian Mental Health on Roger Street can both help, says Wes Hewitt, executive director of the shelter society.
“They can use the shelter address or any supportive housing building that we operate as well. We supply them with a form and they take it with them (to vote),” Hewitt said.
The form is signed by both the person wanting to vote and either Hewitt or someone designated by the society.
“It’s like an affidavit; it allows them to vote if they don’t have proper identification.”
The shelter society will also run transportation for people from the community’s homeless population—something they have done for the past three or four elections, he said.
BC Transit is also offering free bus rides on election day.
“We do what we can to allow them to vote,” says City of Port Alberni chief electoral officer Davina Hartwell. “If a person is legitimately able to vote but doesn’t have identification, if the shelter would provide them with a letter…that would count as one piece of ID.”
Voting places will also have declaration of residency and identification forms available that people can also sign as their second piece of identification.
“They still have to meet the eligibility requirements to vote,” Hartwell said.
This process has already been put to use during the advanced voting opportunities on Oct. 10 and 16 in Port Alberni, she added.
“They came with their letters, they signed the declarations and they were allowed to vote.”