Elections BC has introduced a new initiative that they’re hoping will make voting easier for residents of one of Canada’s poorest neighbourhoods. For the first time, voters throughout the province will officially be allowed to present prescription bottles as a secondary piece of ID at the polls for next week’s provincial election. According to Don Main of Elections BC, the initiative was borne out of community consultations in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside — sometimes referred to as ‘Canada’s poorest postal code.’
“The Union Gospel Mission in Vancouver and our district electoral officer…were talking about what are some of the [voting] challenges…what are the needs, what are the requirements,” he told Yahoo! Canada News.”A great amount of [the residents of the Downtown Eastside] are unfortunately homeless…and may not be able to have easy access to ID or be able to get it quickly and that sort of thing. So that was just another one of the pieces they can use.”
To vote in B.C., residents need to show either a government-issued ID such as a driver’s licence, which shows the holder’s name, home address and photograph or two pieces of ID: One which shows a name (ie: a prescription bottle) and another which shows a name and address.
“Those that are homeless — under the Elections Act — if they use or frequent a homeless facility then they can use that facility as their address,” Main said. “So quite often that facility would provide them kind of like a membership card that has…their name and address on it.”