Student involvement in election commendable
There was very little popular faith in any large student involvement in this year’s municipal election in the Waterloo region. Most candidates failed to cater their platforms to the some 45,000 student voters who are historically the hardest demographic to engage.
On Election Day, there was confusion as to where students could vote. The city of Waterloo’s website had major glitches, while the polling station in the concourse was allowing those in Ward 7, Poll 3 to vote despite information having been distributed that those not living in university residences would have to vote at the Waterloo Public Library.
Despite these complications, 159 students voted at the on-campus polling station. Although this number is nothing extravagant, when compared to the 15 voters in the 2006 municipal election, it’s an accomplishment.
Although a portion of the increase can likely be attributed to a rise in Laurier’s population and the fact that some individuals living off campus were allowed to vote at the polling station, there still remains an upward trend in student involvement in elections at this school.
The efforts of Ward 7 candidate Erin Epp must be applauded. A Laurier student herself, Epp was visible on campus during the campaign period, through mediums of social media like Twitter and on Election Day and through the advanced polls she was seen urging students to vote.
The Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union also had a team of individuals door-knocking and their website was a helpful tool for information gathering.
The turnout is a far cry from a breakthrough for student voter turnout, but it does indicate that perhaps the culture of apathy on campus is changing.