Accessible Widget

October 2, 2013

2013 City Election Education 101

This Thursday the Disability Action Hall will be talking about voter education.

Many of us find barriers to voting. Here is what some members of the Disability Action Hall said at our last meeting:

  • Voting, its confusing, I don’t know who to vote for.
  • It is hard to tell the difference between city politics and provincial politics.
  • Hard to remember what to ID to bring. 
  • Hard to figure out where to go and voting stations change.
  • We do not like the word incapacitated voter when reading help is all we need. 
  • The information created by candidates is not easy to understand.
  • Information is not easy to access if you do not have the internet.
  • If you make  a mistake on the ballot, they don’t give you an eraser. What if I make a mistake? Can we  get a new one?
  •  If you are blind, you cannot read them, and was refused help to read out the card. 
  • It would be easy for candidates to tell us what is a city issue and a provincial issue. It is confusing.
  • How do know if they are a good candidate?

  • Use plain language.
  • Make it easier to hire people with disabilities to work at a polling station, we understand people have to take a test and do a workshop, take out the test.
  • For those who cannot read, have a reader with them.
  • Vote as a group. Have a party!
  • Change the word incapacitated voter to, "a voter who needs help to vote".
  • Use Picture driven voter machines like the ones used in the States.
  • We like the bus that is driving around to help people vote at certain LRT stations.
  • More advertising prior to the voting day, not just the internet.
  • We need people to compile information important to people with disabilities. A score card, bingo card or report card are handy tools. 
  • Got to a a debate and listen to the candidates. To learn when there is one in your area, Civic camp has a listing on their website. visit 
  • In the past, we have had more success educating ourselves as a group and voting as a group. 
Tips on Voter Education:

1. What helps us vote? We learn as a group.

Voting as a group helps make elections easier. Read about our 2010 experience. This is us at the City Hall station You will need to know what ward you are in order to vote. Check out the ward map. 

If you want to learn who is running for mayor, councilor and school trustee there are many web sites. We tell people, if you do not know who to vote for, call them. We will be given a list of our candidates and phone numbers. We will also prepare some questions to ask the candidates.

2. We learn about who our candidates are! 
Two great places to check out. 

  • The Calgary City Website.You can download a document from the city website.
  • We like the quick reference look up and downloadable contact sheet on 
  • We also like CBC's listing find by postal code if you still cannot ready the ward map. 
  • Ward 1(Retiring- Councillor Dale Hodges)
    Ward 2 (Retiring- Councillor Gord Lowe)
    Ward 3(Incumbent Councillor Jim Stevenson)
    Ward 4 (Incumbent Councillor Gael MacLeod)
    Ward 5 (Incumbent Councillor Ray Jones)
    Ward 6  (Incumbent Councillor Richard Pootmans)
    Ward 7 (Incumbent Councillor Druh Farrell)
    Ward 8 (Incumbent Councillor John Mar)
    Ward 9 (Incumbent Gian-Carlo Carra)
    Ward 10 (Incumbent Councillor Andre Chabot)
    Ward 11 (Incumbent Councillor Brian Pincott)
    Ward 12 (Incumbent Councillor Shane Keating)
    Ward 13 (Incumbent Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart)
    Ward 14 (Incumbent Councillor Peter Demong)
    Mayor  (Incumbent Mayor Naheed Nenshi)
3. We talk about issues that are important to us. 

We then pick  the candidate who has the most in common with our beliefs. In 2010 our top issues that were very important to us and are still important to us in 2013 are:  

  • What will you do to make city services like public transit affordable for everyone? i.e., seniors are getting quite the deal and less and less people are qualifying for Access Calgary.
  • Do you support city wide service for Access Calgary customers? Learn more about 'say no to 1 km rule' by clicking here.

  • What are your views in protecting the health and welfare of tenants in rental units? I.e. mould, fire hazard, defective appliances.
  • What is your commitment to creating more affordable low- income rental housing?
  • Will you support an independent housing appeal panel that is transparent and appointed by community agencies? 
  • Secondary suites; what will you do make secondary suites safer and available?
  • What will you do to address the housing choice gap for people living with low-income to own a home that is safe, accessible and affordable?

  • What is your commitment to finding places that are financially and physically accessible for people with disabilities?


  • What are you going to do to ensure that disability pride and culture is celebrated?
  • What is your vision on how the city can fund grassroots organizations to create diversity in our city’s culture? 
  • What are you going to do to support the disability arts in Calgary and innovative projects that create diversity in our city?

4. Still don't know? Try election bingo! 

Election Bingo

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