NDP seeks special voting ballots for Manitoba's displaced First Nations

October 21, 2019

The NDP are placing a request for special ballots this week to allow nearly 6 thousand displaced first nations people to vote after a devastating Manitoba snowstorm. The storm disabled several utility poles and cause power outages across the southern Winnipeg area forcing the relocation of many first nations people affected to hotels and emergency shelters.


CBC News reports NDP Lawyer Megan Atkinson sent a letter to Elections Canada last Friday requesting they utilize their ability to adapt voting procedures in a state of emergency. Atkinson urged the organization to provide special ballots, move polling stations closer to the temporary shelters or provide mobile polls for evacuees. “This is particularly important to the First Nations community which has been historically and systemically disenfranchised,” Atkinson says in her letter.  Elections Canada set up a polling station at the University of Winnipeg and provided shuttle services to these stations. 


Manitoba Hydro has said that evacuees could return home soon, Atkinson believes, however, that in the case of evacuees it would be unrealistic to expect displaced voters to travel from the cities outskirts to the core to vote only to return home and be expected to move home.   Concessions have already been made for Manitoba Hydro workers currently attempting to restore power. Hundreds of these workers will be able to vote near job sites while in the field despite the fact that the special ballot vote deadline has passed. While power has not been restored Elections Canada says it will welcome electors at their assigned community polling stations today with some reduced hours. Updates may be found at elections.ca.