By Adrian Sinclair
Ballot Box, City of Vancouver (1902). Wooden, Cedar. openMOV. H971.259.1
In 2013, Elections BC has taken a few notable steps to make voting more accessible. They have partnered with non-partisan organizations like Vancouver Design Nerds, Get Your Vote On, Rock The Vote, , and Bike To Vote to make educational resources available online and on the street for a new generation of voters.
The evolution of who has been able to access the voting process is quite the read. In 1918, Canadian women were enfranchised to vote in federal elections (except in Quebec, where women were enfranchised in 1940).
Suffrage Blotter, (1917). Rectangular, White Blotter. openMOV. H994.30.9
Historically, many other groups have been excluded from accessing the right to vote. In 1993 persons with diagnosed mental disabilities were given the right to vote for the first time. In 1970 the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 and ten years before that in 1960, First Nations living on reserve were given the right to vote for the first time. There remains further work to be done in order to ensure the vote be fully accessible. Of concern are Young voters (18-35) who have the lowest turn out among registered voters.
Of course it’s not only the non-partisan institutions that have an interest in making the vote as broadly accessible as possible. A quick look through the MOV’s online collections database openMOV, yields an interesting attempt by a political candidate to get the youth vote out during the 50’s. This faux pep pill containing Teresa Galloway’s political platform on a mini-scroll of paper, was handed out to notify voters that “our city hall needs a tonic … A woman of action can supply pep and vigor.”
Theresa Galloway Election Campaign Capsule, (1955). Plastic, Paper, Ink. openMOV.
Elections BC’s efforts to ensure fair and accessible elections that represent the political will of the electorate is a work in progress. Here at the MOV, we are also constantly working on how to make our collections more accessible in order to provoke, engage, and animate Vancouverites around our shared material and cultural history.
After exploring our online collection political artifacts, reading up on the candidates (of past and present), get out there and vote today!
Engage with the political life of your city and province!