How the 2021-22 Students’ Union election season looks different this year than in the past
While the Students’ Union election season has looked different this year than it has in the past, the students’ union president and CEO Devyn Kelly said that elections season has been going well nonetheless.
“We’re really working on email marketing and a ton of different marketing initiatives to just hopefully make sure that all students are seeing that it is election season and campaign season, and that Laurier Votes is still going forward,” she said.
The students’ union has had to make significant adjustments to the election process amidst a virtual semester in many ways, such as requiring candidates to campaign through virtual means.
While candidates would usually be able to booth on campus and campaign in-person, the remote nature of this school year has resulted in the students’ union encouraging candidates to expand their social media campaigns.
Presidential and board of directors candidates have until Jan. 27—the first day of voting—to campaign.
While students would typically vote on campus in the past, this year all undergraduate students will receive the link to vote in their MyLaurier email on Wednesday. Voting can also be accessed through the students’ union website.
“The actual voting mechanism hasn’t changed at all,” Kelly said, “So hopefully we see a good voter turnout.”
In previous years, the students’ union would encourage voting with on-campus initiatives, such as last year’s Krispy Kreme incentive.
“Last year…you would get a donut if you voted, so I think that those initiatives were helpful because you could grab the students who were in the Concourse or in the RCW lobby in Brantford and get them to vote, just because they were walking through.”
“It’s always nice to have sort of that encouragement and that physical presence is really important on our campuses,” Kelly said.
Voter turnout in last year’s election was lower than previous years’, with just 2,727 out of a potential 18,589 students who voted.
In terms of voter turnout expectations for this year, Kelly said she hopes enough students will vote for the election to pass.
“My prediction has always been we’ll meet quorum. How far above quorum will go, I have no idea.”
Kelly believes factors such as marketing and increased candidate campaigns are a couple of contributors to what make voter turnout fluctuate in a given year.
“It’s mostly dependent on how much campaigning is going on, on campus. So, if you look at two years ago when the voter turnout was actually pretty high, you had four presidential candidates, you had board of directors who were campaigning against each other, [and] Senate and board of governors.”
“But last year, our board of directors [were] acclaimed, and we had two presidential candidates. So, I think it’s really dependent on the number of people running for election. Just because you’re hitting different pockets [of voters] with every student who runs,” she said.
This year, voting days for the election will take place between Jan. 27-29 with the results being announced on Jan. 29.