Your Help Please: Comments needed regarding Polling Station Locations
Your assistance with this matter through public comments to this thread would be most appreciated.
Recently, I was approached by Elections Canada to participate in an all-parties discussion regarding polling stations in the Sudbury Electoral District. A list of polling stations from the last election in 2008 was provided. Now that I have a bit of a keener eye for these sorts of things, and after having heard some anecdotal stories, two things struck me as unusual about the list of polling stations. I’d like to share these items with you, and ask for feedback.
Post-Secondary Institutes (Colleges and Universities): Although there are three post-secondary schools in Greater Sudbury (College Boreal; Cambrian College; and Laurentian University), all of which having at least one student residence, there are no polling stations located at these schools. Students would have to travel in some cases significant distances in order to cast their ballots.
My question to you is whether or not it is normal for Elections Canada not to have polling stations at Colleges and Universities, given the "seasonal" nature of student occupation. In the last election, we did hear from students that it was difficult to vote in the Advance poll, given its location far from all 3 campuses, but there was no feedback that I am aware of regarding the actual neighbourhood polls. But that might just be because we didn’t follow-up.
If you know of post-secondary institutes in your electoral district which have polling stations, I'd be intererested in finding out more about the number of students at the institute, and the number of students in residence, if you have that information available.
Polling Stations in Churches: The other thing which struck me as somewhat unusual are the number of polling stations which are located in churches. This was something we did get some feedback on during 2008, to the effect that since a polling station was located in a church, voters would be less likely to vote. In fact, some voters told us that they would never set foot in a church to cast a ballot, given that (to them anyway) churches were synonymous with oppression. Has anyone else encountered this sort of attitude amongst potential voters?
For me, churches are located in strategic parts of our communities, and offer people voting locations which are generally accessible by foot. My previous concerns with churches had to do with parking (as some churches in this community are under-serviced by parking; but that’s not a big issue). It was only when out canvassing that I became aware of this other concern with churches as polling locations.
Any feedback that you can provide would be appreciated. The meeting is next Monday, and I’d like to go with at least some national anecdotes about polling station locations, if not hard facts.
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