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DTES organization helping hundreds of low-income seniors vote by phone

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Oct 24, 2020 at 2:13 pm PST

(iStock Photo)
Summary

The Whole Way House is helping hundreds of low-income seniors in the DTES vote by phone

The organization co-founder says many seniors didn't even know they could vote by phone

In the last week alone, WholeWay house sent 450 flyers to seniors with voting instructions

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With many seniors unable to get to the polls this year due to the pandemic, one group is helping hundreds of low-income seniors in the Downtown Eastside vote by phone.

The WholeWay House usually delivers free meals for those in need but over the past few weeks, the organization has spent time handing out phone voting instructions to 450 seniors.

Jenny Konkin is the president and co-founder of the organization and says many were not aware of the mail-in ballot deadline, so she quickly got the word out about voting by phone since many low-income seniors just assumed they wouldn’t vote.

“A lot of the seniors we work with have complex health issues. On top of that, physical mobility issues, so physically not able to get to the polling station.”

Voting by phone is available for people self-isolating, or who have underlying health issues, are disabled or are visually impaired.

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Konkin says the vote by phone option was not laid out clearly, adding many seniors access their information from news outlets, but the option was underreported.

“The pandemic and the election really has highlighted that our low-income seniors need support,” she told NEWS 1130.

“They don’t have a voice. They represent the largest portion of our population. And this was the most clear and perfect example that if there’s nobody looking out for our low-income seniors, they just don’t have a voice. And they don’t think that’s fair that the people who helped to build our province are not getting a say in what’s happening.”

Join NEWS 1130 for full coverage of B.C. Votes 2020 starting at 7 p.m. Saturday.