MASU aligns with CASA to encourage students to vote
The Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign is ramping up its efforts to mobilize students to vote in the upcoming federal election. Through a series of events and information sessions, GOTV is working to make the voting process easy and accessible for all eligible students.
The MASU has partnered up with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), the group responsible for spearheading the nonpartisan voter-mobilization campaign. The campaign aims to make sure students all across Canada have the necessary information on how and when to vote on Oct. 19.
To galvanize eligible voters, the MASU has planned a variety of events in the buildup to the election. Scheduled events range from debate screenings sessions surrounding the basics of voting.
Elections Canada has witnessed a long-term decline in young Canadians’ voter turnout. In 2011, 38.8 per cent of Canadians aged 18 to 24 voted, compared to the overall 61.1 per cent voter turnout for that election. MASU’s GOTV coordinator, Tierra Stokes, says this low turnout is why the GOTV campaign is necessary to ensure that student issues are not ignored.
Annie Sherry, MASU’s vice-president, external affairs, urges students to pledge to vote on the GOTV website. This allows student lobby groups, like the MASU or CASA, to quantify student engagement in the election. Sherry says this is vital when lobbying the government to focus on student issues.
“During the last federal election less than 40 per cent of eligible voters aged 18 to 24 actually went and voted,” said Sherry. “That has a really big impact on what the government thinks of students.”
“We make up 20 per cent of the overall electorate and there are 5.5 million millennials who are eligible to vote in this upcoming election,” said Sherry. “That’s way too large to be ignored.”
Students have the option to vote in Sackville’s Beauséjour riding or their home riding. Eligible voters will need proof of identity and proof of residence to vote; specific requirements can be found through GOTV or Elections Canada. The MASU is working with the registrar to implement an attestation of residence for all students currently living on campus.
Sherry urges students to decide where and how they want to vote by Oct. 1. Eligible voters are recommended to register with Elections Canada prior to Oct. 19; however, if equipped with the proper identification, voters can simply show up on election day. All students looking to vote by special ballot must apply to do so by Oct. 13.