A Kit for Community Groups to Ignite Voter Participation
As Canadians prepared for the 42nd federal election, one of the closest and most fiercely contested political campaigns in recent history, community organizations and civic leaders sought effective tools to engage their communities in the election and reverse the decline in voter turnout.
In response, Samara created the Vote PopUp toolkit to foster interest in the election and demystify the voting process for first-time and infrequent voters. It even worked for those who could not yet vote because of their age or citizenship status.
The Vote PopUp kit allowed community groups to simulate the voting experience by recreating a polling place and foster interest by providing an opportunity for participants to connect their concerns and interests with the electoral process.
Instead of being told what matters to them or why they should vote, participants were asked what matters to them and why voting is important them. Their responses were showcased by local organizers and their voices amplified through social media and Samara’s national network.
As an adaptable and easy-to-use tool, Vote PopUp could be used during an existing program, like an adult education class, or a large public event. It didn't require any external support and could be run at little or no cost. In the lead-up to election day, Vote PopUps occurred in such varied locations as a homeless shelter in Calgary, a settlement agency in Toronto, a mobile library in Ottawa and a farmers’ market in Vancouver.
For participants who had never or rarely voted, Vote PopUp demystified the process by:
confirming they were registered with up-to-date information;
informing them about acceptable forms of identification;
ensuring they knew how, where and when to vote; and
allowing them to practice casting a ballot.
For all participants, it was an opportunity to have their voices heard.
Read the Vote PopUp Report
Learn more about how community groups ignited voter participation in the 42nd federal election in our Vote PopUp report:
Thanks to the overwhelming response of local organizers, in just over three months:
- The toolkit was downloaded by 456 people in 76 towns and cities across all 10 provinces and 1 territory;
- At least 330 community groups held a Vote PopUp, attended a training or accessed the kit.
- 440 community organization staff, volunteers and students participated in 13 Samara-led training sessions in 5 cities from coast-to-coast;
- #VotePopUp was used over 600 times to share stories and pictures on social media; and
- Vote PopUp was mentioned by 21 different media outlets, spanning print, web, radio and television.
These accomplishments are featured in our report and brought to life by the words and photos of organizers and participants alike. The report also highlights the key elements that made the initiative so successful and popular among community groups.
For answers to questions about registration, voting, ID to vote, employment, time off to vote or other questions, go to elections.ca and explore the FAQ section.
Training and Support
Although the kit was designed as a do-it-yourself tool, Samara offered training and support for community organization staff and volunteers interested in learning tips and tricks for implementing and practicing the activity before taking it to the field.
Training sessions were held in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary and Halifax.
Please email John Beebe at [email protected] if you have any questions about the Vote PopUp initiative.
Vote PopUp is generously funded in part by:
Thanks to your confidence and support, more Canadians are informed about when, where and ways to register and vote so they can exercise their right to vote and have a voice in their democracy.