News Releases

October 8, 2015 – There’s a big problem with Elections Canada’s “register to vote” message

October 4, 2015 – Over 1 million students can vote on campus October 5-8

September 23, 2015 – Youth-led group uses funny to get other young Canadians to vote


October 8, 2015 – There’s a big problem with Elections Canada’s “register to vote” message

TORONTO, ON (October 8, 2015)

Be the Vote and Vote Savvy are raising concern over Elections Canada’s unwillingness to be clear about the fact that voters can register at the polls in the 2015 federal election.

After six weeks of heavy advertising to “register to vote”, Elections Canada has failed to mention on social media, television, or radio, that registering or updating registration, can be done at the polls.
Furthermore, over 84% of the voter’s list was completed before the election, meaning the large majority of Canadians are already set up to vote, and did not need to go online or call Elections Canada to register.

Be the Vote and Vote Savvy are concerned that unless Elections Canada takes immediate action to correct their messaging, people will be deterred from voting. Currently Elections Canada plans to change their communications on October 13 to tell people they can register at the polls, but this will be too late.

“When you bombard the airwaves for almost two months telling people to register, people are going to think they need to go through a ‘registration process’ before-hand”, says Elizabeth Dubois, Executive Director of Vote Savvy. “For new voters, this makes the voting process seem overly complicated. It is also a huge inconvenience for people going through these unnecessary steps”.

Currently there is scarce mention of the ability for voters to register or update registration at the polls on the Elections Canada website. The Voter Information Cards (VICs) sent in the mail did not contain this information either.

“The Fair Elections Act does not allow Elections Canada to encourage voting, but it does allow them to get all the facts across about how to vote”, say Kennedy. “Their mandate isn’t being met, and public interest is at stake, when this sort of information is not made apparent.”

Be the Vote and Vote Savvy are urging Elections Canada to put significant resources behind advertising a clear message that everyone can vote,  that registration can take place at the polls, and that people do not need VICs because they can find their poll location online or by calling Elections Canada. This applies to advanced polls as well which are open October 9-12.

Here are the facts:

1. Voters must technically be registered/added to the voter’s list, but this can be done at the polls. You can update VIC information at the poll.

2. You can find your poll location online by entering your postal code.  You do not need a VIC to vote.

3. Make sure you have valid ID: www.VoterID.ca (this easy to remember url redirects to the Elections Canada ID page). Your VIC is not a valid piece of ID.

For more information, please contact:
Grace Kennedy
Executive Director, Be the Vote
204-799-6526
grace@bethevote.ca

Elizabeth Dubois
Executive Director, Vote Savvy
902-809-0612
votesavvy@gmail.com

Be the Vote is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization, led by a group of young Canadians passionate about getting youth to vote. Be the Vote is powered by volunteers and works on creative awareness campaigns to foster a wider-spread culture of political engagement in Canada.

Vote Savvy is a non-partisan not-for-profit aimed at making it easy for young people to learn about the political issues that matter to them. Vote Savvy is active on campuses across the country encouraging youth to engage in their political system through an online survey tool, vote mobs and shareable videos.

[Back to news releases]


October 4, 2015 – Over 1 million students can vote on campus October 5-8

TORONTO, ON (October 4, 2015) – Be the Vote and Vote Savvy are urging media, campuses, political parties, and voter engagement initiatives to help promote over 70 satellite Elections Canada offices open for voting October 5-8, which give over 1 million students easy access to voting.

“The significance of these offices is they are open to the public, and anyone can vote at them, regardless of their home address or which riding they live in”, says Grace Kennedy, Executive Director of Be the Vote.

To vote, you simply need to make sure you have the right ID. It is not necessary to register before-hand; you will be registered in-person when you go vote.

“Students are often unaware of their voting options and so raising awareness about this new approach is crucial”, says Elizabeth Dubois, Executive Director of Vote Savvy.

In addition, there are several Friendship Centres and youth centres with satellite Elections Canada offices open on these dates.

Voting will take place by ‘special ballot’. The key difference between this ballot and a regular ballot is that voters must write the name of their candidate instead of marking a circle.

The list of Elections Canada offices with special locations October 5-8 can be found here.

Elections Canada: 1-800-463-6868

Be the Vote is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization, led by a group of young Canadians passionate about getting youth to vote. Be the Vote is powered by volunteers and works on creative awareness campaigns to foster a wider-spread culture of political engagement in Canada.

Vote Savvy is a non-partisan non-profit aimed at making it easy for young people to learn about the political issues that matter to them. Vote Savvy is active on campuses across the country encouraging youth to engage in their political system through an online survey tool, vote mobs and shareable videos.

[Back to news releases]


Youth-led group uses funny to get other young Canadians to vote

Be the Vote launches comedic video campaign with important message to win new voters

TORONTO, ON (September 23, 2015) – A youth-led organization, Be the Vote, released five public service announcement (PSAs) videos today aimed at inspiring young Canadians to vote in the upcoming federal election.

With a team of young actors, writers, and filmmakers in Toronto, Be the Vote delivered their message with humour, hoping to provoke laughter and convey a feel-good association with voting.

“Voting has immense value and we are being clear about that – we can’t shy away from celebrating this right”, says Grace Kennedy, Executive Director of Be the Vote. “The PSAs seek to show voting is very relevant to everyone, which is a much-needed message today to the majority of young Canadians who have not voted, for whatever reasons in the past”.

Be the Vote solicited the support of Juno-winning band Arkells, a young indie-rock group from Hamilton, to provide a hit song for use in the PSAs. Fittingly, the band members all took Political Science classes at McMaster University.

“The more people that get out and vote, the more people will be engaged in shaping, not only election results, but policies, debates, and discourse in Canadian politics”, says Arkells’ bassist Nick Dika. “That’s why voter participation is important to us – no matter who you choose to vote for.”

In each of the 30-second PSAs, a political topic is highlighted in the life of a young person experiencing a funny, every-day scenario. The PSAs refrain from using political jargon or taking stances on issues; instead they promote the message that youth have the chance to influence their future on Oct.19.

“Be the Vote’s PSAs offer a positive message, which can resonate with young Canadians” says Jane Hilderman, Executive Director of Samara, an educational charity that released a report debunking the notion youth are apathetic earlier this month. “Be the Vote recognizes youth are not apathetic, and makes effective use of light-hearted humour to reach this key voting demographic”.

The PSAs will be televised nationally, and will be advertised on social media. They are available on Be the Vote’s YouTube channel, and will be released on YouTube’s official “Elxn42” channel. Be the Vote is asking for the support of the public to chip in $5 through www.bethevote.ca to help boost their impact.

About Be the Vote

Be the Vote is a non-partisan not-for-profit organization, led by a group of young Canadians passionate about getting youth to vote. Be the Vote is powered by volunteers and works on creative awareness campaigns to foster a wider-spread culture of political engagement in Canada.

Twitter: @bethevoteca

Facebook: www.facebook.com/bethevote.ca

[Back to news releases]

Hang With Us