Did a procedural error affect the voting outcome of the November civic election? Did you give up on voting because you thought the polling station was too far away?
In an unknown number of cases, the City of Vancouver mailed voting cards to voters with incorrect information about the locations of the closest three polling stations. The three “closest” polling stations listed may be in the wrong order, or may fail to list the closest polling stations. This could especially affect voters with mobility challenges.
If this affected you, we invite you to write reporter Bob Mackin (see below), who is gathering information (in confidence) for analysis. (If you still have your voting card, hang on to it.)
It appears the problem affects apartment dwellers and residents of multi-family buildings. It seems City Hall incorrectly calculated distances based on the resident’s unit number (instead of building number).
In his blog post (Election 2014: Addressing the address issue) and article in the Vancouver Courier (Vancouver voting wasn’t confusion-free on Nov. 15), Mackin quotes Marc-David Seidel, Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources at the University of British Columbia: “I hope that the mailing from the city does not disenfranchise voters of our city, but fear it may … If this problem is city-wide the implications on voter turnout are quite substantial.”
“Perceived distance to a polling station can be the deciding convenience factor in choosing to vote for many people, and distance can disproportionately impact voting behaviours based upon age and physical mobility — suppressing voter turnout disproportionately for certain demographic groups,” Seidel said. “There is significant academic research on perceived distance to polling stations.”
If you have any information about this topic, please feel free to contact Mackin at bob (at) bobmackin (dot) ca.
LOCATIONS OF VOTING PLACES FOR NOVEMBER 2014 ELECTION
|A1||King George Secondary School||1755 Barclay St|
|A2||Lord Roberts Elementary School||1100 Bidwell St|
|A3||Gordon Neighbouhood House||1019 Broughton St|
|A4||Best Western Sands Hotel||1755 Davie St|
|A5||Vancouver Aquatic Centre||1050 Beach Ave|
|A6||St Andrew’s-Wesley United Church||1012 Nelson St|
|A7||The Listel Hotel||1300 Robson St|
|A8||Lord Roberts School Annex||1150 Nelson St|
|B1||Coal Harbour Community Centre||480 Broughton St|
|B2||Vancouver Public Library Central Branch||350 W Georgia St|
|B3||Jubilee House||508 Helmcken St|
|B4||Carnegie Centre||401 Main St|
|B5||Roundhouse Community Centre||181 Roundhouse Mews|
|B6||International Village Mall||88 West Pender St|
|B7||Vancouver Art Gallery||750 Hornby St|