Campus polls swell

During the 2006 municipal election, about 14 students voted in the on-campus poll – that number skyrocketed to 159 during the Oct. 25 election, which saw incumbent Brenda Halloran re-elected.

Despite the rise in turnout, voting in the Laurier Concourse was marred by a miscommunication between the university and the city of Waterloo.
“I was told by the city clerk that only students that live in residence vote there,” said vice-president of university affairs Saad Aslam of the polling station, pointing out an obvious miscommunication between those running the poll on campus and the city of Waterloo.

About two hours before the voting closed at 8 p.m. Aslam, who was scrutineering all day, overheard that the poll was allowing voters from the entire Ward 7, Poll 3 to vote in the Concourse.

Although Waterloo city clerk Susan Greatrix said “independently owned apartment buildings – they could not vote on campus,” Aslam said those running the poll had conflicting voter lists.

“They had a voter’s list of people who were registered at the 7-3 poll,” said Aslam, and not just those of the sub-poll. This meant those running the voter station in the Concourse had lists for those living in the Bricker-Ezra area south of Laurier’s Waterloo campus.

Numbers for the election are not yet official and Greatrix said the city has no way of verifying who voted at the poll until numbers are finalized.

This election saw a turnout that Greatrix, who has been involved with Waterloo elections since 1994, said was “far and away the best turnout at Laurier ever,” official numbers for student turnout for the entire region have not been released.

“It’s great that we showed the city that students do care,” Aslam
The polling station on the Laurier campus was meant solely for those who lived in Ward 7, Poll 3, Sub-poll 1, which included all Laurier residences, with the exception of Spruce St. Apartments (325 Spruce St.) and King’s Court Residence (345 King St. N.), whose residents had to vote at the Waterloo Public Library.

With a history of low voter turnout, Aslam expressed his disappointment at the miscommunications regarding student voting, stating numbers could have been higher if he and his team had been given the opportunity to spread the word.

“I think we could have seen a huge increase in the number there,” he said. “If we’d known that some students [could] vote there we would have put that messaging out there appropriately.”