Student voter turnout skyrockets
The final count for turnout at the only polling station on the Laurier campus has come in at 159 voters. The polling station was for voters from Ward 7, Poll 3, which included on campus residences and the Bricker-Ezra area south of campus.
“It’s great that we showed the city that students do care,” said Saad Aslam, Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union vice president: university affairs.
After only approximately 15 students voted on campus in the municipal election of 2006, Aslam credited many factors for the increase in student turnout during this election, which saw incumbent Brenda Halloran re-elected mayor of Waterloo.
“Part of it had to do with because the poll was primarily for students in residence, we had a concentrated effort to engage that audience by getting the dons to do some programming and as well we had some flyers up in residence for the two weeks prior to election day,” explained Aslam.
“One of the candidates’ campaign teams was also here campaigning all day so that helps get the student vote out.”
Confusion earlier in the day surrounded both Spruce St. Apartments and King’s Court Residence tenants not being able to vote on campus, and off-campus students from Poll 3 suddenly being able to vote in the Concourse.
Despite these confusions, Aslam remained positive about the voter turnout and future elections.
“It’s disappointing,” said Aslam, who said more recruiting for turnout could have been done if the city had notified the university of some of the changes. “But at the same time it’s something we’re going to discuss with the city clerk … and hopefully there’s some steps we can move forward on and have a better relationship with the students and get them out to vote.”