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Chris Cowperthwaite and Katie Gilfillan. Photo: Mike Szabo

Get informed and make a difference with DemocracyKit’s election workshops

By Mike Szabo on September 5, 2018


With Ottawa’s municipal elections fast approaching, it’s time to get smart on the issues, the people, and the processes important for this year’s election. Even more, maybe you’re considering getting involved, but have no idea where or to start or what to do.

If you are looking to get involved, DemocracyKit is a good place to start.

As part of the broader Open Democracy Project, a not-for-profit geared towards empowering everyday people to drive political change from the ground up, DemocracyKit has developed a series of incredibly in-depth online resources to aid anyone and everyone hoping to campaign or volunteer as part of one.

DemocracyKit’s resources also underline the importance about engaging in responsible civic action. To them, that means providing potential campaign volunteers with the right information to tackle the sometimes vague campaigning laws governing elections, as well as how someone can perform their own due-diligence when figuring out if they should throw their time and support behind a particular candidate.

DemocracyKit’s online resource library and training kits have videos, handouts, and presentations that cover pretty much every aspect of campaigning you can imagine, ensuring you’re prepared to tackle the municipal election.

Katie Gilfillan presents at a DemocracyKit workshop. Photo: Mike Szabo

Even better, as a complement to its extensive online resources and as part of the Ottawa Public Library’s Civic Engagement Series, DemocracyKit has been holding a series of workshops at library locations throughout the city to prepare Ottawans for the October 22nd municipal elections.

Led by DemocracyKit’s founder Chris Cowperthwaite and its Ottawa Chair, Katie Gilfillan, its first two Ottawa workshops focused on driving political change, as well as the fundamentals of campaigning. They covered everything from strategies to having conversations while “door knocking” to the typical organization of municipal election campaign teams, as well as challenges that women face when vying for city council seats.

DemocracyKit is holding the final workshop, entitled “Get out the Vote,” on September 6th in English at Sunnyside Library, September 10th at the Beaverbrook Library in English and again on September 22nd at the St. Laurent Library in French. The workshop will focus on how volunteers can help to get voters to the polls, how volunteers can help out with advance polling, as well as what to expect as a volunteer on Election Day.

One of the coolest parts about these workshops is that the information and skills DemocracyKit presents are applicable to life, volunteering, and work outside of politics and campaigning. Much of what DemocracyKit focuses on is creating “small and mighty teams,” which are expertly organized in order to maximize their effect and impact. If Ottawa’s upcoming election isn’t of any interest to you, DemocracyKit very likely has something to offer that would benefit your professional life or help along with your community involvement.

That said, with the election right around the corner, you’ll probably leave their upcoming workshop excited about how to get involved at the ground-level in Ottawa municipal politics, so the skills they teach you may come in handy, sooner rather than later.

You can register for DemocracyKit’s upcoming workshops at Space is limited, so don’t wait too long to sign up!