Fredericton, N.B - Today, the St. Thomas University Students’ Union (STUSU) is launching our Get Out the Vote campaign, in collaboration with the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and 35 other student associations across the country. We aim to encourage students to vote in the upcoming federal election. During our non-partisan campaign, the STUSU and volunteers will be throwing events, hosting all-party debates, and utilizing volunteers to engage students on campus and inform them that voting in this election is their opportunity to shape the future they want to see.
In the past, younger generations have been apathetic towards elections. Many young people were either intimidated by the voting process, felt that their vote didn’t make a difference, or faced barriers such as not having the right proof of address or identity at the polls. To combat this problem, the STUSU, in partnership with CASA, ran its first iteration of the Get Out the Vote campaign in 2015, and managed to get 42,000 students to pledge to vote. That same election, voter turnout among 18-24-year-olds increased by 18%! It became clear that mobilization efforts, such as STUSU’s and CASA’s, as well as political parties’ efforts to connect with young people, made a big impact.
Due to the success of the 2015 campaign, the STUSU has decided to participate again in 2019 and help our student body get out to the polls this fall.
“Throughout the Get Out the Vote campaign, we will be asking students to pledge to vote either online at getoutthevote.ca or on a paper pledge form,” explains Adam Brown, Chair of CASA. “Studies have shown that having a person promise to vote, especially to a peer, is an effective way of ensuring that they show up on voting day.”
The STUSU will have pledge tables in James Dunn Hall (JDH) and at various events such as Dogs and Democracy, Brownies and Ballots, Elections Trivia and others.
“We will be breaking down the barriers to voting for students by making information accessible and bringing politicians to students here on campus. There will be an all-candidates debate in the Kinsella Auditorium on September 24th starting at 6:30 pm. This will ensure students have all the information needed to make an informed vote based on their personal needs,” said Husoni Raymond, President of STUSU. Our partnership with Elections Canada will bring special polling to campus between October 5-9 so students will have the opportunity to vote in this riding or their home riding.”
This year, voting will be easier for St. Thomas University students. Because students have generally not yet settled in one place, they have traditionally faced difficulty proving their address and voting in elections. Fortunately, St. Thomas University students will have the opportunity to vote right on campus a few weeks before election day. Also, students will be able to use a wide variety of documents to prove their address, including leases, residence letters, and more, making the process much simpler.
Husoni Raymond continues, “We are excited to execute this campaign on our campus. There are over 2 million students in Canada, when we all vote, our demands will be at the forefront of any government's priority list. We will send a strong message that students' issues are Canadian issues.”
Students who want to participate in the campaign can visit getoutthevote.ca to pledge to vote or contact the STUSU to participate in on-campus campaign events.
Established over 75 years ago, the St. Thomas University Students’ Union is a democratic body representing all students at St. Thomas University. The mission of the Students’ Union is to effectively represent and provide services to the students of St. Thomas University and to advocate the position of the organization before the University’s administration, municipal government, provincial ministries and federal departments. The Students’ Union strives to enhance the life and experience of students with a positive educational, social and cultural environment while attending St. Thomas University.
Husoni Raymond, President
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 23 student associations representing 280,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. With its partnership with the Quebec Student Union (QSU), CASA represents a total of 360,000 students across Canada and presents a national student voice to the federal government. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Director of Operations and Communications