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Elections Nova Scotia hopes to increase voter turnout among Indigenous communities

Andrew Merilee said he is one of three outreach workers hired to help increase voter turnout in Indigenous, Black and francophone communities
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Elections Nova Scotia is looking to make voting more accessible in the province.

Andrew Merilees, Indigenous liaison officer for Elections Nova Scotia, said he is one of three outreach workers hired to help increase voter turnout in Indigenous, Black and francophone communities.

"So people know when, where and how to vote in their communities," he said. "They'll also be assisting to distribute information and answer questions people may have."

According to Merilees, voter turnout has been low in Indigenous communities.

"In some cases, less than half of what it is in non-Mi'kmaq communities," he told NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Todd Veinotte. "So that was one of the reasons why we wanted to do some outreach to see exactly what the barriers were that were preventing the full participation of the community, so we can address them."

Merilees says accessibility is one of the biggest barriers, adding they have committed to having a polling station in each of the province's 13 Mi'kmaq communities.

He says building relationships with these communities should continue outside of election times.

"Making these contacts is really important, but it's also important to foster, nurture and have these contacts continually," said Merilees.

The provincial election is set to take place Aug. 17.




Chris Halef

About the Author: Chris Halef

Chris is a reporter for HalifaxToday.ca and NEWS 95.7. In 2018, he won the RTDNA Dave Rogers Award for best short feature.
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