“Board Notes” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of highlights from Student Council meetings.
Get Out The Vote coordinator encourages student participation in elections
Encourage student participation in the next elections Jasmine Li, Get Out The Vote (GOTV) coordinator and second-year science student at the University of Alberta, made a presentation to the Student Council on September 7.
She began her presentation by giving an overview of the upcoming elections. She mentioned the Canadian federal elections which will be held on September 20 and the Edmonton municipal elections which will be held on October 18.
After his overview of the election dates, Li discussed who is eligible to vote. For the federal election, individuals who are Canadian citizens, 18 years of age or older and registered are eligible to vote. According to Li, there are three ways to vote in federal elections.
“There is in person [voting], [voting] by mail, and [voting] through advance polls, ”she explained. “The in-person vote can be taken at the nearest Elections Canada office any time before 6:00 p.m. local time. If you prefer to vote by mail, you can request to do so no later than 6 p.m. Eastern Time on September 14. Advance polling days are September 10, 11, 12 and 13.
The advance polls for Edmonton will be located at the St. Anthony Meeting Center at 10425 84 Ave. NW. For in-person or advance voting, identification with the elector’s full name and current address is required.
For the municipal action, Li described the requirements as “quite similar to those of the federal election.”
“You must be at least 18 years old and a Canadian citizen, but you must also be a resident of Edmonton on polling day,” she explained. “The in-person vote for the municipal election is October 18 from 9 am to 8 pm. “
“Advance polling will take place from October 4 to 13 from 1 pm to 7 pm, including Thanksgiving Monday. “
For those who cannot vote on advance polls or polling day, a special ballot is available.
After covering the logistics of the elections, Li explained why the turnout among students was important. She pointed out that the 18 to 35 year olds constitute the largest electoral bloc in Canada, but that they have historically had a voter turnout below the national average.
“A major reason [it is important to vote] is that 18 to 35 year olds are now the largest electoral bloc in Canada, representing approximately 37 percent of the population, ”she said. “In the 2015 federal election, 57% of 18- to 35-year-olds voted… which was still below the national average. “
Li also mentioned the responsibility of students to make their voices heard.
“Voting is an important civic responsibility and student voices are important in shaping policies that will affect their education because the University of Alberta is a public institution and politics will affect their future as a whole,” said Li said. “If future governments see that students and young people have high turnout and vote, they will be more responsive to student concerns within their platforms. “
“It is important that students come out, vote and show what they believe is important to them and to other young people. “
Student Union receives criticism of student textbooks
Andrew Batycki, Engineering Advisor, presented some of the feedback he received on the UASU manuals distributed during Welcome Week. According to Batycki, the students were not satisfied with the content of the textbook, preferring a larger planning section.
“The overall feedback I received, along with some of the other advisers at this table, is that the students were not happy with the textbooks,” Batycki said. “There were fewer coupons, they were smaller, and literally someone walked up to me and held it was like ‘where’s the planner, I can’t find him’, and once I showed him, she was like ‘Oh that’s disappointing’ and I just put it down and walked away. “
“I just wanted to bring this up – I don’t know who makes the textbooks – but I think it should be considered next year when they do them. The students did not receive them well this year.
In response, Rowan Ley, president of the Students’ Union, explained that the decision to have a smaller planner stems from comments from the previous year.
“I understand we have received a lot of feedback [last year] that very few people actually used the planner, and because it took up a lot of space and each page is expensive to print, this is why the planner was [smaller]”Ley said. “We can discuss this with the marketing team and examine the possibility of reinstating [a larger] planner [for next year]. “