Vancouver man files human rights complaint over advance poll locations

By on November 1, 2014

View of the Downtown Eastside and Woodward's site from Harbour Centre. Bobanny / Wikimedia Commons.
View of the Downtown Eastside and Woodward’s site from Harbour Centre. Bobanny / Wikimedia Commons.

VANCOUVER—A Vancouver man has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal claiming the city’s most vulnerable people are being shut out of voting in advance polls for the Nov. 15 civic election.

Mark Handley says in a statement that the locations for the advance polls are too far away from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where many of the city’s homeless and poor live.

His complaint says poor people living in the Downtown Eastside, East Hastings, Mount Pleasant and the Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhoods are being discriminated against, with preferential treatment given to wealthier people living on the Vancouver’s westside.

Handley says the eastside’s advance polling stations are an average of 50 blocks away from the downtown core and many of the area’s poor can’t afford to travel outside of their neighbourhood.

He adds that many people in those neighbourhoods can’t register to vote because they don’t have access to a computer.

Vancouver human rights lawyer Barbara Findlay says there are five advance polling stations on the city’s west side, while the east side has three and they aren’t easily accessible.