Manitoba and its residents are still recovering from a devastating snowstorm that hit the province. Of course, with an election just around the corner, the big question is whether people who have been affected by the storm, including evacuees and provincial hydro workers, will be able to vote. Luckily, the NDP has Manitoba Hydro workers and First Nations communities on its mind and has asked Elections Canada to ensure people are accommodated.

The initiative from the NDP is focused primarily on the ability for First Nations people who were displaced by the storm to vote. Many of these people were forced to evacuate to hotels in Winnipeg after the storm knocked out power in their communities.

In a letter sent to Elections Canada, NDP lawyer Meg Atkinson wrote, "We demand that Elections Canada work with stakeholders to identify a better solution for affected electors registered with the Red Cross," according to CBC News. "This is particularly important for the First Nations community which has been historically and systemically disenfranchised."

The number of evacuees registered with the Red Cross is approximately 6000, and Elections Canada has said it had been working on the problem prior to the NDP's letter.

"Over the past few days, Elections Canada has been communicating with political parties about the unprecedented measures we are taking to adapt to the extraordinary events that took place in Manitoba," Elections Canada spokesperson Matthew McKenna told CBC. "Our ultimate goal, as always, is to do everything we can so that electors can cast their ballot."

Manitoba Hydro workers have also been granted access to special ballots to allow them to vote from job sites as they work to restore power to parts of the province.

The initiative to allow Manitoba Hydro workers to vote where they are working is being taken to ensure that they can continue to work instead of travelling the long distances they would have to go to vote.

"In some cases, we would have had staff that were having to travel three and four hours back to their home riding, one way, to vote, and then travel back to the job site," Scott Powell with Manitoba Hydro told CTV News.

"This really will go a long way towards minimizing those disruptions, and allowing our staff to get their vote in, which is crucial and important to us."

According to Marie-France Kenny, the regional media advisor for Elections Canada, the workers will be voting with blank ballots.

"We have to make sure we have blank ballots because we don't have ballots for every riding, we don't know which riding they'll be voting for," Kenny told CBC.

"We also have to make sure we have people who can help them through the process, so making sure we can provide them with names of candidates in each of these ridings so they can write out their names on the ballots."

The Canadian Federal Election takes place on October 21. Canadians can see what time their polling places will be open on the Elections Canada website.


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