City makes efforts in increasing student vote

Waterloo working with universities to raise voter turnout

Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

On Oct. 27, residents of Waterloo will be given the opportunity to vote in the municipal elections.
The city is working to get students involved in order to produce a larger voter turnout than in previous years.

According to Olga Smith, city clerk at the City of Waterloo, the city has met with student representatives from both Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo in order to promote the vote and student engagement.

The city has also collaborated with the universities to coordinate advanced polls at both Laurier and UW on Oct. 8 to give students more of an opportunity to vote.

At Laurier, the polls will be on campus from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Paul Martin Centre.

“Basically anyone can go to campus to vote on that day, but primarily it is to sort of assist the students to sort of get it out there,” said Smith.

Smith said the City of Waterloo has created a video in conjunction with the City of Kitchener and

Cambridge in order to discuss issues that are important to students and to get them out to vote.

“There is going to be a candidate debate at WLU on October 2, and they are promoting that to students as well,” Smith said.

Typically, voter turnout for the municipal elections is not high. In 2006, 28.66 per cent of the population voted. In 2010, voter turnout increased to 41 per cent.

However, according to Smith, this may have been due to two referendum questions that were on the ballot.

According to Smith, it is mostly older individuals who come out to vote. Not many students or younger people between the ages of 18 and 25 typically participate in the vote.

“We are hopeful that through these additional efforts, and having an advanced poll for the first time on campus, that will bring out students to vote,” she continued.

In order to prepare for voting day, students can go on the city’s website to view the list of registered candidates and their contact information.

The website also includes information on upcoming debates. If students are looking for information on specific candidates, Smith encouraged students to contact the candidates directly.

She continued to say voting is important because issues that are addressed in the municipal elections affect each and every citizen who is residing within a particular region.

“We hope students will take an interest, and they will go out and vote,” she said.

“We encourage them to take advantage of the advanced poll, and got out to vote and let their voice be heard.”

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