Facilitating First Nation Voter Participation for the 42nd Federal General Election
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) was contracted by Elections Canada to provide critical outreach support during the 42nd general election and to fill research gaps related to First Nation electors. Based on the work and experience of the AFN over the past 14 months, we are pleased to advance the following recommendations:
- Elections Canada should seek amendments to the Canada Elections Act.
- Enable First Nation electors who live within a community/reserve encompassed by a single polling division to establish their place of residence without the need for identification that proves a home/civic address.
- Enable First Nation electors to use the voter information card as a permanent form of identification proving their place of residence.
- Mandate Elections Canada to support get-out-the-vote campaigns and other activities that encourage First Nation voter participation.
- Enable any Canadian citizen aged 16 years or older to register with Elections Canada for the purpose of participating in an election when they reach the age of majority.
- Elections Canada should ensure that all First Nation communities have the opportunity to have at least one on-reserve polling station.
- Elections Canada should take steps to create an ongoing administrative relationship between returning officers and First Nation Band administrators.
- Elections Canada should ensure that all First Nation communities have access to a community relations officer for Aboriginal electors in their community during the election period.
- Elections Canada should hire local community members to carry out registration drives in their respective First Nation communities in advance of an election.
- Elections Canada should partner with First Nation educational organizations to design culturally appropriate curricula outlining the federal electoral process.
- Elections Canada should develop programs and services under the Electoral Reminder Program that are accessible and culturally relevant to First Nation electors.
- Elections Canada should ensure that First Nation electors need prove only their identity and residence once in order to participate in a respective election.
- Elections Canada should prioritize the gathering and processing of data relating to factors that could inform First Nation voter participation.
- Notwithstanding the above, Elections Canada should continue to respect the perspectives of First Nation citizens who choose not to participate in a federal election.