Election 2015: Rock the Vote urges people to vote on Oct. 19

Courtenay-Alberni: Non-partisan organization encourages every eligible voter to hit the polls for federal election.

Sarah Thomas finds a 'Rock the Vote' rock on Second Avenue. Volunteers placed handpainted rocks around town reminding people to vote.

Sarah Thomas finds a 'Rock the Vote' rock on Second Avenue. Volunteers placed handpainted rocks around town reminding people to vote.

With the federal election only four days away, it’s time to rock the vote, says Sarah Thomas.

She’s not the only one who thinks so—she’s just one member of Rock the Vote, a non-partisan organization encouraging people to do just that come federal election day on Monday, Oct. 19.

“It’s a non-partisan organization encouraging people to vote,” said Thomas.

“We’re giving people information on how to register to vote, different ID requirements and where the Elections Canada office is,” said Thomas.

Why are they going to so much trouble?

“Every vote matters,” said Thomas.

“Only 52 per cent of the people in this riding voted in the last election.”

While people may feel that their vote doesn’t count, when only half of the voters in the riding voted—it does.

“If the other half were all not voting because they were feeling disenchanted or because their voice wasn’t being heard… if all those people came out things would be different.”

For those who feel like the issues on the table at election time don’t apply to them, Thomas said the best way to make sure politicians pay attention is to vote.

“For young people, they say well politicians don’t talk about issues that interest me,” Thomas said.

That attitude from voters makes a vicious cycle of certain demographics not voting, politicians realizing that and continuing to ignore them and those people not voting again because they feel they’re being ignored.

“That’s a big reason to care; so that those issues get addressed,” said Thomas.

“I think if the youth show up and ask the questions about the things that worry them, then politicians will start to pay more attention.”

But it’s not just youth who don’t vote.

“The First Nations vote in this riding was 42 per cent,” said Thomas. That’s 10 per cent under the general turnout for the riding.

All-candidates meetings like the one hosted by the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council at the Hupacasath House of Gathering on Sept. 28 do help, Thomas said.

The 42nd annual federal election takes place on Oct. 19. Port Alberni residents can vote at Echo Centre from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

You’ll need either one I.D. that has your name, photo and current address or two pieces of I.D., one of which has your current address. If you have no I.D. with an address, bring two pieces with your name and someone with I.D.  who can vouch for you.

For those without a fixed address, a letter of confirmation signed by a shelter or soup kitchen works as I.D.

Voting can also be done in advance at the elections office at 4805 Mar St.

Regardless of how you prove your identity, a voter information card with your current address will make voting faster.

“If you have the voter information card and the right I.D., you can be fast tracked and your experience will be more efficient.”

For more information, visit www.elections.ca or call your local elections office at 1-866-499-8028.