Less than 13 per cent turn out to cast ballots in fall electionsKassandra Mattice – The Aquinian
St. Thomas University Students’ Union held its Fall Elections earlier this month, and the voter turnout was less than superb – in fact, much less than half of the student body made an appearance at the polls throughout the two-day duration of elections.
Just 297 students cast a ballot.
So why aren’t students voting?
Michael Thorne, Chief Returning Officer of the students’ union and the man in charge of the electoral process, offers insight as to one of the issues.
“People need to take initiative,” he said, adding that students and candidates mutually need to get more motivated. Students have to take it upon themselves to keep informed, and candidates should constantly be promoting the elections.
Some students, however, simply aren’t interested.
“I’m politically apathetic. I just don’t really care,” said Nathan Scovil, a first year student at STU.
“I don’t feel like voting ever makes a difference,” he continued. “I’ve never felt a real difference in elections – federally, provincially. They’ve never affected me personally. I don’t think student elections would be any different. Life just goes on.”
Advertising that elections are taking place also appears to be a crippling factor in the voter turnout. Students have claimed that they hadn’t heard elections were taking place until the poll stations were set up.
The SU, however, is not responsible for the advertising portion of the elections. They make the information available to students, and it’s up to candidates to advertise thereafter.
Generally, voting information is available at the Student’s Help Desk in James Dunn Hall, a resource which Thorne says is “underused.”
He has suggested that there are a few ideas in the works for the spring elections, including sandwich boards and other resources.
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