Elections Canada makes voting easier for youth
ALICIA KONDRAT, CONTRIBUTOR
Advance polls increased by 71 per cent from the last federal election according to Elections Canada.
Elections Canada tried to eliminate roadblocks for youth voters in the recent federal election by setting up advance voting stations at select campuses, friendship centres, and community centres — and it worked.
This was a four-day initiative with over 3.6 million people casting a ballot between Oct. 9 and Oct. 12. This pilot project contributed to the highest voter turnout in 22 years, according to Elections Canada.
Faith Robert, a graphic design student at RRC, is a first time voter. She said the last election was a really busy time for her, but this year she made time to vote.
“I vote because now I have the right to vote,” she said. “If I want to have an opinion on what’s going on I should contribute to the decision of who is in charge.”
The advance voting stations were open to all Canadians, regardless of where they lived, so people could vote away from home. This used to be a major constraint for students who moved cities for schooling.
“I voted, first time voting,” said Nick Ising. The 20-year-old business ad- ministration student said daily banter inspired him to try it out. “I was hearing it was time for change, so I had to get out there,” he said.
Social media was littered with youth vote campaigns like Storm the Dorm, the Council of Canadians Vote Nation pledge, and Get Out the Vote, endorsed by comedian Rick Mercer.
RRC also participated in the Get Out the Vote campaign. The campaign was done in alliance with Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA).
It’s a non-partisan, not-for-profit student organization composed of student associations across Canada that advocate on behalf of the federal government. There are 23 schools that are a part of CASA, and each school collected pledges from its student body.
“As part of our campaign, on Oct. 6, Rick Mercer went to St. Francis Xavier University, one of our member schools, to promote youth voting,” said Benjamin McDonald, Red River College Students’ Association president. “Seeing that kind of national coverage is something that hasn’t happened in the past.”
McDonald said he wanted RRC to participate in Vote Party, which en- couraged campuses across Canada to organize an event to watch the election. But the Cave was booked for a study period. Because of that, McDonald said the RRCSA will try and hold one for the provincial election next year.