Campaign encourages students to vote in provincial election

THE SPRING OF 2011 was an exciting period of vote mobs and campaigns aimed at getting students to the polls for the federal election. In light of the upcoming provincial election on Oct. 6, groups have once again begun mobilizing youth and persuading them to get involved.

The Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) has partnered with the College Student Alliance to launch the It’s Your Vote campaign, geared toward encouraging student participation in the election.

“The campaign is designed both to inform students how to vote on
Oct. 6 [and] also why they should vote. We provide them [with] information about their options and the parties,” said Sam Andrey, the executive director of the OUSA.

The first phase of the campaign attempts to inform students through party platforms, videos, blogs, and other information available on their website Andrey explained that the second phase will help students understand the main points of each candidate’s campaign.

“Soon we plan to release a platform comparison. We will be providing information about the parties’ plans for post-secondary education and comparing those plans against our own platform,” he said

The campaign is also working toward making it easier for students to vote at the polls. Students have the option of voting either in their home riding or where they are going to school. Mail-in ballots are also possible for students who cannot return home.

Despite attempts to mobilize the youth vote, some still feel that it is an effort wasted. Second-year biochemistry student Jordan Favre explained the reasons behind his apathy in an interview with the Fulcrum.

“As a young adult, I don’t see much of a difference between political parties. In my mind, you have all these politicians that make these promises, and then when they get elected they don’t do half the stuff. People are going to be angry … whatever they decide. It doesn’t make much of a difference to me,” said Favre.

Andrey underlined the importance of getting youth politically engaged in order to bring forth issues that are important to students.

“Youth vote less than half as much as older Ontarians do. As a result politicians pay attention to [them] less. You often hear issues about taxes, health care, and things, with more of a focus on families. Post-secondary education, youth unemployment, and things like that often get left behind and I think that is a direct result of low voter turnout,” said Andrey.

The OUSA has been on student campuses organizing events. It is also registering students to vote and going door-to-door to let students who are not aware know there is an election coming up.

“It is in the best interest of students to participate if they want issues that are important to them to be on the radar,” said Andrey.

—Christopher Radojewski

illustration by Devin Beauregard