OCOP has been actively involved in the exposure of what Garth Mullins has called the creation of a “democracy desert” in East Vancouver.
The issue is the siting of the advance polling stations for the municipal election in November. There are no polling stations in the Downtown Eastside, Strathcona, Grandview, Hastings Sunrise, and most of Mount Pleasant creating the desert.
In larger terms, there are five polling stations west of Main Street, two to the east, and one, on Main Street, on the border between east and west. Moreover, the 4km radius circles around both of the stations east of Main include wide swathes of Burnaby.
More intimately, the map requires the least able in our city — the low-and-no-income folks, the mentally challenged, the seniors — get to be the ones who have to travel by bus or walk long distances to exercise their constitutional rights. This is just a mess.
DTES Votes, an organization working to register voters in the DTES, held a press conference on Thursday morning. Garth spoke for OCOP. The meeting got good coverage in the Straight and the Courier. Further coverage here.
By the end of the week, most political leaders had written to the Electoral Officer suggesting more polls. Hopefully she will come back to work on Tuesday and get on with closing these gaping democracy gaps,