Food bank’s message: Vote on Nov. 19

The Kelowna Community Food Bank is actively encouraging all eligible voters to exercise their democratic right.

The Kelowna Community Food Bank is actively encouraging all eligible voters to exercise their democratic right to vote on civic election day, Nov. 19.

“Voter turnout is in steady decline,” said Vonnie Lavers, the Kelowna food bank executive director.

“Less than 20 per cent of eligible voters bothered to vote in our last civic election. This trend says that more people are feeling disconnected from the issues and the democratic process. This is a huge problem.”

In an effort to boost voter turnout this year, Lavers is in particular reminding food bank recipients to vote.

“We’ve included an election notice in our hampers through November. If people want progress on issues like affordable housing, chronic hunger, poverty and the living wage, they are going to have to get involved.”

Lavers says their message is simple: Every vote counts.

“Our staff and volunteers are encouraging recipients to educate themselves and to find out where the various candidates stand on the issues that matter to them,” Lavers said.

“Everyone has a voice, but you have to use it to be heard.”

All-candidates forum

The Society for Learning in Retirement Kelowna will host a Kelowna all-candidates forum on seniors’ issues tonight (Thursday), 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

This forum will focus on seniors’ issues at the municipal level featuring questions on the areas of cultural/recreation services, transportation, seniors affordable housing, and age-friendly initiatives.

DWK mail ballot

Qualified electors may now apply for a mail ballot for the District of West Kelowna civic election.

People wishing to vote by mail ballot are qualified to do so if they:

• have a physical disability, illness or injury that affects their ability to vote at another voting opportunity, or

• expect to be absent from the District of West Kelowna on general voting day and at the times of all advance voting opportunities.

West Kelowna mail ballot applications will be available on the district’s website, www.districtofwestkelowna.ca, or at Municipal Hall, 2760 Cameron Rd.

Applicants will be sent a mail ballot starting the first day of advance voting—Wednesday, Nov. 9—and up until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 17.

It is the elector’s responsibility to ensure mail ballots are received by the Chief Election Officer at 2760 Cameron Rd. no later than 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19. .

Voter info card

Kelowna residents can check their mail this week for a City of Kelowna 2011 election voter information card.

Mailed to all households in the city, the information card provides details on the dates, times and locations Kelowna residents can head to the polls.

“We want to remind residents that they can pick the place and voting day of their choice as polling stations located across the city are open to all eligible voters,” said chief election officer Karen Needham.

“We’ve not only added new voting locations this year, we’ve also expanded the number of advance voting opportunities. So Kelowna, come out, you have five days to cast your vote.”

Eligible voters are residents of Kelowna for at least 30 days, 18 years or older, who have lived in B.C. for at least six months and are Canadian citizens.

To vote, bring two pieces of ID to prove residency and identity (at least one with a signature) to the polling station.

The first day of advance voting is Nov. 9.

Residents can find a complete list of all candidates, with links to candidates’ websites and campaign statements on the city’s website at kelowna.ca/election.