Students are concerned that the proposed changes to the Federal Elections act may make it more difficult for students to vote.
“Voter turnout from students and youth is already relatively low in federal elections, a concerning sign regarding our democracy’s future,” explained U of A Students’ Union President Petros Kusmu. “We need to work towards making it easier for students and youth to vote, and find new ways to encourage them to do so. I’m concerned that these proposed changes will have the opposite effect.”
Last year, the Council of Alberta University Students worked with the Provincial Government to successfully change Alberta's Elections Act to make it easier for students to vote in Alberta. Furthermore, at the Students’ Union, we have worked this year to make it easier for students to vote in municipal elections by having multi-constituency advance polls located on campus.
With this local progress, students are hopeful that any changes to the Federal Elections Act ensure that barriers to voting for student and youth voters are removed. The currently proposed changes will remove a student’s ability to “vouch” for another student who might not have appropriate up-to-date local identification. Since many students attend university away from their hometowns, often in other provinces, this could prevent students who may have lived in a riding for the majority of their degree from exercising their democratic right.
“I’m hopeful that the federal government revisits these proposed changes, and engages in a cross-Canada consultation in regards to these changes to the Elections Act to ensure that students are encouraged to vote, instead of hindered,” Kusmu added. “Promoting youth voting is the surest way to ensure the future of our democracy.”
The Students’ Union encourages students to write to their respective Member of Parliament and Minister Poilievre. You can easily find contact info for your Member of Parliament here.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
External Communications & Media Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union