If we want people to participate, let's make voting easy, easy, easy.
With people busier than ever, limited advance poll access and a one day election day no longer make sense and in fact blocks people out of the process - in many instances some of the most vulnerable communities - single parents, people juggling multiple jobs, folks with physical impairments.
We know that increasing voting access impacts turn out - just look at Toronto's last municipal election. The city went from having only six advance poll locations in 2010 to forty-four in 2014 and turn out in AP doubled.
There are lots of simple ways to make it easier for people to get to the ballot box.
1. Make Advance Polls open for longer: more days and for a longer period of the day. Advance Polls in Mississauga were open for 13 days versus only 7 in Toronto. Polls in Toronto opened at 10am and closed at 7pm. It should be 7am to 9pm.
2. Have more Advance Poll locations - using the example of Toronto, we should double the number of locations from 44 to 88 - two per ward. Research shows that we find that small differences in distance from the polls can have a significant impact on voter turnout.
3. Enable telephone and internet voting - the City of Toronto started down this path but ran out of time - lets get it right for next time
4. E Day voting from 7am - 9pm is a no brainer! 10am to 8pm is far too limiting.
Recent Canadian research suggested the impact of extending AP might be limited, but the recent Toronto election shows others. Regardless, this is low hanging fruit.