NWAC Launches Voting Guide to Increase Voting Numbers Among Indigenous Women and Gender-Diverse People

September 27, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): A new voting guide launched today by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is designed to encourage Indigenous women and gender-diverse people to get out and vote – thereby ensuring their voices are heard and their perspectives are understood.

The 2019 Voting Guide for Indigenous Women, Two-Spirit and LGBTQQIA Voters, created with support from Elections Canada, is a first for NWAC, and underscores the Association’s continuing efforts to keep front and centre the 231 Calls for Justice issued by the National Inquiry for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

“Just as it is crucial that all federal party leaders honour the Calls for Justice, which are legal imperatives, and pledge their commitment,” says NWAC CEO Lynne Groulx, “it is also crucial that Indigenous women, Two-Spirit and LGBTQQIA persons take an active hold on the levers of democracy to shape their future.”

Indigenous women are among the fastest-growing populations in Canada – but also greatly under-represented in terms of candidates and number of overall voters in Canadian elections.

The voting guide takes Indigenous women and gender-diverse people through a step-by-step process:

  • how to register to vote
  • how to vote if you are a student
  • how to prove your identity and address
  • what types of identification items you can use to prove your identity and address
  • how to vote at the advance polls, by mail or on election day
  • what to expect at the polling station

Along with a list of the political parties, the guide offers a number of tips on how to decide whom to vote for (for example, think about the issues you care about and look at how the different parties address those issues) and provides a section on how Canada’s political system works.

Beyond voting, NWAC is also encouraging Indigenous women and gender-diverse people to consider active participation within or outside the government system. “By running for office, helping with an election campaign, running in a community band election, organizing a community meeting or engaging in social media activism,” says Lorraine Whitman, NWAC President, “Indigenous women and gender-diverse peoples can gain confidence in their abilities, as well as enhance awareness around Indigenous issues and priorities.”

To ensure a healthy future for all Canadians, including Indigenous women and gender-diverse people, and “with the growing need for real reconciliation, NWAC encourages Indigenous communities to participate in elections at every level of government. The more Indigenous women speak with their voices, the more their voices will be heard,” says Ms. Whitman added.