FeatureNews

SAIT students pledge to vote

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Get Out The Vote campaigns to get 750 students to the polls for the upcoming federal elections

For every person aged 18 to 24 that voted in the 2011 election, there were nearly two voters aged 65 to 74.

In an effort to tackle the low voter turnouts of young people in previous elections, a national campaign is encouraging post-secondary students to vote in the Canadian federal election.

Lambie Carruthers, governance and advocacy research assistant with SAIT Students’ Association (SAITSA), said low turnout of young people does not only impact young Canadians today, but it also impacts them in their future.

“In order for young people’s issues and concerns to be addressed, they need to vote,” said Carruthers, who is facilitating Get Out The Vote on the SAIT campus.

“It’s going to affect us in our prime,” said Carruthers, 31, referring to the future of jobs, taxes and student loan repayments.

“Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

Get Out The Vote is national campaign ran by the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) with the goal of increasing voter turnout, particularly in young people.

There are 22 post-secondary institutions across Canada participating in the non-partisan initiative, including the University of Calgary.

Carruthers said with advocacy, reminders, and assistance getting students to and from polling stations, Get Out The Vote is a simple way to combat voter apathy.

The impacts, however, could be large considering the number of post-secondary students in Canada.

Carruthers, who is also a second-year journalism student at SAIT, said, “If a million students get out and vote, it could be a real wake-up call for politicians.”

This is the first year SAITSA brought the Get Out The Vote campaign to SAIT, and it was not without its challenges.

The campaign surrounded SAITSA’s fall election period, confusing some students with abundant messages of “Vote.”

Compared to the Get Out The Vote campaign at the University of Calgary, SAIT had far fewer volunteers resulting in far less reach on campus. There have been over 5,800 pledges to vote signed at the University of Calgary, compared to the goal of 750 pledges at Sait.

Despite the challenges, Carruthers said getting fellow students excited to vote was worth the effort and students should expect to see the Get Out The Vote campaign during future municipal, provincial, and federal elections.

But for now, Carruthers said all students should make sure to get out and vote on Oct. 19.

“We should be running to the polling stations with a sense of urgency because we have this privilege.”

Visit www.saitsa.getoutthevote.ca to pledge to vote.

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