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                 You don’t need a home
                   to have a vote…


A GUIDE TO HASSLE-FREE VOTING
In the Ontario Election
Written by
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee (TDRC)
Housing and Homelessness Network of Ontario (HHNO)

The Ontario election is expected this Fall or in the early Spring. People who
are homeless have the same right to vote as other citizens.

This kit is designed to help people who are homeless, and those who work
with homeless people, understand the Election Act and the voter
registration process.

Attached, you’ll find:
 a flyer for homeless people explaining how to register to vote
 tips for community agencies and advocates working with homeless
   people

Please copy and distribute this kit or help us translate it into multiple
languages. Call TDRC for more information. And stay in touch. We’d like to
hear about the work in your community on homelessness and the provincial
election.

CONTACT:
                            You don’t need a             home. . .
                                    to have a        vote! ! !
To VOTE in an ONTARIO ELECTION, you must be:
 18 years or older
 a Canadian citizen
 a resident of Ontario (ie. currently living in Ontario)
 on the official voters list at the poll

       No permanent address or identification? No problem!
           Here’s how to get on the voters list and vote!
Easiest- During Advance Polls
Ask shelter or drop-in staff if they have arranged for people to get on the voters list and
vote. If they haven’t, you will need to go to the office of the Returning Officer in your
riding. To find out the office location and when Advance Polls will be held, ask shelter or
drop-in staff or contact Elections Ontario toll-free at 1-888-ONT-VOTE (1-888-668-
8683) or by email: info@electionsontario.on.ca.

To get on the voters list, you will be asked to fill out and sign a form called a “Personal
application for a Certificate to Vote.” To prove you live in the riding, simply write down
the place where you have slept over the last five weeks (whether it’s a hostel, park
bench or anywhere else) or, if you move around, the place where you eat (like a soup
kitchen or drop-in).

Once you have completed the form, you will be given a Certificate to Vote and told
where to go to vote. Don’t forget your certificate because you’ll need it to get your ballot
and vote!

Possible- Before Election Day
   Election officials may visit hostels, drop-in centres or soup kitchens to sign-up
    eligible voters. Check with staff. If nothing is scheduled, ask staff to call the
    Returning Officer or the Liaison Officer for the Homeless in your riding and ask if
    Revising Agents can visit. Revising Agents will help you get on the voters list and will
    give you a “Certificate to Vote” which you MUST bring with you when you vote at
    either the Advance Polls or on Election Day.

On Election Day (bring your ID or an identification letter from a shelter/drop-in)

   To get on the voters list and vote on Election Day, you will need identification or a
    letter from a shelter or drop-in stating that you sleep or eat there regularly.
    Remember, the polls will be busy. Call Elections Ontario toll-free at 1-800-668-8683
    to find out where the polling station is in your riding and get there early if possible.

If you have any difficulties registering to vote or voting, contact:
                           Ontario Election 2003
                      Ensuring homeless people get a vote

                                   TIPS FOR AGENCIES

SPREAD THE WORD: People who are homeless may not know about their right to
vote under the law. Please copy and distribute the attached flyer. It gives basic
information on voting for people who are homeless.

YOU DON’T NEED A PERMANENT HOME TO VOTE: Changes to the Election Act
allow people who are homeless to use a hostel, soup kitchen or drop-in centre as their
address when they register to vote. If people are questioned or hassled, quote section
1.1( 3): “A person’s affidavit regarding the places to which he or she returned to eat or
sleep during a given time period is conclusive, in the absence of evidence to the
contrary.”

NO I.D.? NO PROBLEM: During advance poll voting, the Election Act allows eligible
voters to sign a special form (called an Application for a Certificate to Vote) to confirm
that they are eligible to vote. If people are questioned or hassled, quote section 15.2:
“For the purposes of this section, a statutory declaration by a person claiming to be
entitled to vote is proof, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, of the facts
declared to.”

However, on Election Day, identification or a letter from a shelter or drop-in is required
for eligible voters to be added to the List of Electors and vote.

CONTACT THE RETURNING OFFICER AND THE LIAISON OFFICER FOR THE
HOMELESS: The Returning Officer in your riding is in charge of the election and you
can request that they also appoint a Liaison Officer for the Homeless. Contact
information is available through Elections Ontario toll-free: 1-888-ONT-VOTE (1-888-
668-8683). Call and ask for a meeting to discuss plans to make sure that all eligible
voters who are homeless can be registered to vote. Ask them to make sure that all
election officials are sensitive to the special circumstances of people who are
homeless.

ORGANIZE A REGISTRATION CAMPAIGN: Agencies that work with homeless
people should consider holding a “voter registration day” in their area. Call the
Returning Officer or Liaison Officer for the Homeless in your riding and ask them to
send “revising agents.” These are election officials who make sure that eligible voters
can be registered to vote.
GET PEOPLE REGISTERED: People who are homeless and eligible to vote can go to
the Returning Office in their riding to receive a Certificate to Vote, which they can use
to vote during Advance Polls or on Election Day. They can also register and vote on
the spot at Advance Polls. It is also possible to register and vote on Election Day but
people who are homeless will need ID or a letter from a shelter or drop-in as proof of
where they are living. Call the Liaison Officer for the Homeless in your riding for details.

INTERPRETERS: Elections Ontario does not provide interpreters but interpreters can
accompany people to register to vote and at the polls.

TALK IT UP: Housing and homelessness deserve attention in this election campaign.
Download housing backgrounders and other election materials from a variety of groups
on TDRC’s website: www.tdrc.net. Distribute the materials or hold a community
discussion on these issues.

MEET THE CANDIDATES: Call the candidates who are running in your riding.
Elections Ontario has a list of candidates and contact information on their website at
www.electionsontario.on.ca. Ask for a meeting to discuss housing and homelessness.

HOLD AN ALL-CANDIDATES’ MEETING: Invite the candidates from all political
parties to a community location to talk about their plans to end homelessness and build
more housing. Invite people who are homeless and others to question the candidates.

CONTACT THE MEDIA: Write to your local newspaper. Call your radio station phone-
in program. Call the news director of your local television station. Tell them that
housing and homelessness are important issues. Tell them that the candidates should
be questioned.

MONITOR THE ELECTION: Agency staff should consider following-up with homeless
people to ensure they were able to get on the voter’s list and vote. Although only poll
staff, candidates’ scrutineers and voters can observe inside the poll, agency staff may
want to be available to homeless people outside. If anyone who is eligible to vote is
prevented from registering or voting, contact the Returning Officer or the Liaison
Officer for the Homeless at the Returning Office of the riding. Explain your concern and
ask the election official to record your concern in their log book. Make a note of their
name. And finally, keep a record of your concern and send it to TDRC.

STAY IN TOUCH: Please let TDRC know about any work in your community to
register homeless people. Also, please let us know if you encounter any problems
during the election campaign or on Election Day.

            (phone) /                  (fax) /                     (email)

								
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