Ever had an idea that sounded a little crazy but that you thought just might work? Well, a couple of weeks ago Leor and I were chatting over breakfast about what we could do to encourage more people to vote and our crazy idea was born. We decided to offer a VIP Voting Experience to any first time voter living in our riding. We sent out a Facebook post advertising our offer for a VIP voting experience and sat back and waited to see if anyone would take us up on our offer. Watch our Interview with Global TV by clicking here.
So what does a VIP voting experience include? Well we decorated up our “Voting Mobile” and decided to literally roll out the red carpet for each of our VIPs. We picked them up at their house, pumped out the tunes, gave them snacks and pompoms for waving as we drove them to their polling station. Upon arriving we had trivia games to play while in line and answered any questions they might have. After voting, each VIP received an official certificate and we went back at our house to celebrate!
We helped bring first time voters from a variety of backgrounds including ones who had just moved to our city, a new Canadian citizen and youth voters voting in their first election. But here’s the best part…the idea caught on! Friends in other neighbourhoods liked the idea and offered they would host their own VIP voting experience in their community.
What started as a crazy idea suddenly had the potential to make a difference. I’m happy to report that Canada’s overall voter turnout went up by 7% in this election! Our contribution was just a small one but I really believe that by removing barriers that could hold someone back from voting and making it a fun and engaging experience we encouraged our VIPs to vote again in future elections.
So besides creating your own VIP voting experience, what else could you do to help encourage voting? Get out the sidewalk chalk on election day and encourage others to vote in a fun way. Find out about non-partisan voting groups and help promote their message like Student Vote that encourages voting in schools or Rock the Indigenous Vote that helped encourage more First Nations, Metis and Inuit to vote in this election. Finally, you can also make a difference just by texting your friends and family and reminding them to vote. Each step make a difference.
(Tell me about your great ideas to encourage voting!)