Community consultants in KACL’s Adult Learning Centre have mixed feelings in response to the report, ‘Special-needs Voters Get Civics Lesson’ by CBC News and Radio (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ontariovotes2011/story/2011/09/28/ontario-votes-civics.htmlon).
While it is significant to realize that individuals with intellectual disabilities are under-represented in Canadian elections, the piece insinuated that Frontier College is tapping a new and undiscovered population of voters.
KACL’s Adult Literacy Centre provides access to information through a variety of formats depending on the unique needs of each learner. Many learners who attend KACL’s Adult Literacy Centre have requested support from community consultants to understand personally relevant political issues and the voting process itself. This has been an ongoing practice in the Adult Literacy Centre for over eight years.
Community consultants routinely encourage discussions about citizenship, self advocacy and the democratic process. Exact replicas of the current voting ballot, information about current events, candidates and party platforms are made available with audio video supports and clear language using text supported with symbols and other relevant graphics.
Adult learners are supported, individually in understanding available resources such as the voter registration card, ballot forms, determining polling stations, watching online videos about voting in Ontario and assistive voting technology, to identifying with political candidates, parties and issues important to them.
· Is a resident of Ontario
· Is 18 years old
· Is a Canadian Citizen
Has the right to vote! Elections Ontario has services and considerations for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. Voters can bring a friend, staff or relative to assist in providing identification and obtaining and casting a ballot. Some poll locations will even provide assistive technology for voters (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2011/08/24/wdr-election-voter-assistance-technology.html).
Low literacy or physical disability does not need to exclude anyone from their right to vote!
Some insightful sites:
Kenora Association for Community Living
Community Consultant - Adult Literacy Centre
“A Meaningful and Satisfying Life for All.”