Friday, November 14, 2008

Vote November 15 - the information you need

Voting is from 8 am to 8 pm only.

You can find your voting place with this handy Voting Place Search Tool:

You can only vote in the correct place for your address. (The City was supposed to have sent out cards telling registered voters where to vote, but at least some of the aunties say they never received them.)

If you're on the Provincial voting list, you're also registered in the City. If not, you can register on election day, but be sure to bring two pieces of identification - you have to prove your address and at least one i.d. has to have your signature. (Non-resident property electors* have to show more proof and have to get that information from the City clerk's office.) Here are some examples of i.d. you can use:

• B.C. Driver’s Licence
• B.C. ID card from Motor Vehicle Branch
• ICBC Owner’s Certifi cate of Insurance and Vehicle Licence
• B.C. Care Card
• Social Insurance Card
• Citizenship Card
• Property Tax Notice
• credit card or debit card
• utility bill
• Ministry of Housing and Social Development
(formerly Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance)
Monthly Report/Request for Continued Assistance (HSD 081)

You can't count on voting at the same place you did in previous elections, nor can you be sure the polling place is in your voting area. Mt. Pleasant Neighbourhood House, which is on the South side of Broadway at Prince Albert, is being used for voting by people who all reside on the north side of Broadway. There is a pedestrian light you can use to get across that busy street.

The city has a .pdf Voters' Guide here:

The map on this document is too small and ill-marked, use the Voting Place Search Tool - but there is other information including the profiles of ALL the candidates.

In this election, you get to choose:

• 1 Mayor
• 10 Councillors
• 7 Park Commissioners
• 9 School Trustees

All offices are held for a three-year term.

I have no idea how the CBC and other broadcasters get around the CRTC election regulations in not giving substantially equal hearing to all candidates. There are 15 candidates for Mayor, 32 candidates running for the 10 city council seats, 20 candidates for the 7 parks commission seats, and 19 candidates for the 9 school trustee seats.

Candidates backed by political parties will have the party name next to their name on the ballot. The NPA who currently hold the mayorship and a majority on all the boards are running a full slate. Vision Vancouver, COPE, and the Green Party are running a joint slate - so if you want to vote for mainstream progressives you can vote for all of those and don't have to vote against any of them. There are also candidates from the (federally-eligible) Work Less Party, and the lesser-known but intriguingly-named Nude Garden Party, plus a slough of independents.

Their profiles are all on that link I mentioned above, but there are also links to their "unedited nomination documents" on this page:

There will be people at many of the polling places handing out leaflets about the Single Transferable Vote referendum coming up in May. They are allowed to do this because STV is a Provincial referendum and not an issue in the civic election. If approved, this method would allow you to vote for more than one candidate to represent you provincially and to rank your choices from first choice to last. This can eliminate the dilemma of voting for someone you don't want in order to prevent someone you don't want even more from getting elected.

COPE (the Coalition of Progressive Electors) has its party HQ in a complex in Mt. Pleasant, on the Northwest corner of Broadway and Carolina (across from Mac's). They are recruiting volunteers to help get out the vote on election day. Getting out the vote theoretically does not favour a particular candidate, so it's not electioneering.

COPE had a policy conference of its members, and its platform draft is here:
Betty Krawczyk of the Workless Party has accused Ellen Woodsworth of COPE of supporting legalised brothels for the Olympics, but given what is in the platform and the known opinions of some of the names shown as having platform input to COPE, I doubt that. I have an email in to Ellen asking about it. One of the visible supporters of COPE is NDP MP for our area Libby Davies, whose opinions on this issue are discussed here

Voting is fun and exciting and will give you a sense of ownership over the politicians if people you voted for won. But no matter who wins, remembers, you're going to have to keep after them regularly between elections about the issues you really want to see actualized. Otherwise, it's just a shell game.

*One thing you might not know is that people who can vote in this election must be Canadian citizens, but they don't have to be current residents of Vancouver. Anyone who formerly lived in BC for at least 6 months before registering to vote in Vancouver and who owns property in Vancouver can vote in Vancouver city election even if they don't live here. However, they