Queen’s students can vote in Kingston municipal election

City of Kingston makes elections accessible to students

Students can cast ballots from Oct. 5 to 24 at polls around Kingston.
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All Canadian post-secondary students—even those from out of Kingston—can cast their ballot in the upcoming October Ontario municipal elections.

The City of Kingston has implemented an exception for students who consider home somewhere else in Canada, rendering them eligible to vote in both their home municipality and school municipality. This means some Queen’s students can vote in the Kingston riding.

The voting process has been made accessible for students by offering around-the-clock online voting, free public transportation on voting days, and an online voter registration portal.

“We recognize students may not necessarily be familiar with our transit system yet, or are hesitant to use the bus, so online voting is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Janet Jaynes, assistant returning officer for the City of Kingston, said in an interview with The Journal.

Online voting begins on Oct. 5 and runs until Oct. 24, enabling students to vote from home. If students register to vote by Sept. 16, they will receive their voter’s information notice in the mail.

To be added to the voters list, students must also provide a qualifying address in Kingston, such as a lease. Students living in residence at Queen’s can request verification of their address through the document request form on SOLUS.

“The only caveat is that you need to be registered by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24,” Jaynes said. “Just in case there are any issues it would still give somebody the opportunity to get to a physical voting location.”

According to Jaynes, Canadian students can cast their ballot without a voter’s information notice if they go in person and have identification proving residence in Kingston.

There are two instances of in-person voting: on advanced voting days from Oct. 18 to 22, or voting day, on Oct. 25. The City of Kingston offers free bus rides on voting days to anybody with a voter’s information notice. Students can also ride the bus for free with their student card.

Regardless of which district they live in, electors can vote at any one of the six polling stations on advanced voting days. Wait times on these days are anticipated to be “much shorter,” according to the City of Kingston website.

On election day, voters can cast their ballot between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. at their district voting location, which can be found using the district boundary map.

Students should exercise their democratic right to vote because they could have huge sway in making their lives better in Kingston, Tara Sharkey, Sydenham District Association (SDA) board member, said in an interview with The Journal.

Issues such as safe streets, affordable public transportation, and housing directly impacts students. Sharkey believes it’s in student’s interest to elect a councilor who represents their needs.

“If the student body of Queen's wanted to vote in their own candidate to council and engage the student population to vote, it would only take about 1500 students to have their candidate win,” she said.

Regulation of student housing is something directly impacting students and could be addressed by the incoming city council, according to Sharkey.

“We should be working with the city and with our councilors to try to hold owners up to some standards [for student houses].”

To learn more about candidates, students can visit the City of Kingston website, or attend the All-Candidates Meeting for Sydenham District Candidates at Sydenham Street United Church on Sept. 29 from 7 to 9 p.m.

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