Student vote matters

On-campus advanced polls a new initative this year

An estimated 1,400 people voted in the on-campus advanced polls between Sept. 21 and 23 this year, the first year that advanced polls have been available on campus during a provincial election.

AMS Academic Affairs Commissioner Mira Dineen said based on anecdotal experience, she feels the majority of on-campus advanced poll voters were students.

Dineen told the Journal via email that students, like all voters, have differing concerns that span a wide range of topics.

Through her interactions with students, Dineen said Queen’s students are mainly concerned with the quality and affordability of education.

“Tuition fees and student financial aid are issues related to affordability that are often on students’ minds,” Dineen, ArtSci ’11 said. “Other issues such as the economy, health care and job opportunities are also important to students.”

Dineen said the student vote is crucial in order for politicians to prioritize and address student concerns.

“I’ve been extremely heartened by the number of students that showed up to the advance polls,” Dineen said. “I hope students also hit the polls on Election Day [on] Oct. 6.”

According to the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance website, if every student who chose not to vote in the 2007 provincial election cast a ballot, the results in 67 out of 107 electoral districts could have changed, due to the large student populations in some of these ridings.

Julia Bennett, communications officer at Elections Ontario, said the student vote is just as important as any other.

“Elections Ontario’s role is to let voters know when, where and how to vote,” she said. “And of course, I would say that every vote does count, including students.”

Specific district influence is very unpredictable, Bennett said, and depends on the candidates.

“It’s hard to determine [which districts are most influential] because every election will bring forth different issues and different candidates,” she said. “That’s really something that’s highly variable.”

Bennett said there are 170 electoral districts across Ontario and each district has a certain number of advanced polls depending on what’s needed to serve the community. Kingston and the Islands had seven advanced polls for this year’s election spread throughout the riding.

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