Students should understand how important it is to vote this municipal election. They should also not have to suffer another poorly thought out, paternalistic, and unilluminating “Vote or Die” style campaign.
No level of government impacts everyday life more than municipal. Given that there are less than 60,000 voters in Peterborough, your vote means a lot more than it would in any other election.
Municipal elections frequently suffer from low turnouts, which further amplifies each voters’ voice.
Trent students would make up a sizeable portion of voters if we all got out to the polls.
Let’s just hope that no well-intentioned but ultimately alienating “get out and vote” campaign pops up between now and October 27.
When it comes to convincing students to vote, there are ways to do it well and there are ways to irritate and annoy everyone until we all just wish the damn election was over.
Most “get out and vote” campaigning falls into that latter category. It does little more than make people who aren’t voting feel badly about themselves—their ineffectiveness at increasing the number of student voters is a testament to this.
They often don’t even bother telling you how to vote, just that you should be voting. These campaigns would be improved significantly if they even slightly demystified the process.
If it’s truly important to get out and vote, any campaign about it should explain why, or give people some resources to help them understand why.
Furthermore, these campaigns, and the people who run them, never really address the reasons why young people are less inclined to vote in the first place.
It’s not hard to make the case that most candidates don’t really care about students or our issues.
In June’s provincial election, student issues barely factored into any party platforms. At the party leaders’ debate, post-secondary issues were discussed a grand total of zero times.
If an election doesn’t seem to concern anything that impacts your life, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to expect you to vote in it or care about who wins.
Thankfully this municipal election is much different.
Almost every candidate in the ridings I’ve been following (including the mayoral race) has at least paid lip services to us.
Many more have been working directly with student groups. That’s true of candidates across the political spectrum.
Furthermore, the Generation Vote campaign the TCSA is taking part in does exactly what it should—it suggests reasons why voting is something you should do.
The posters pose a question, raise an issue, and tell you how to solve it: by voting for candidates who see eye-to-eye with you. Imagine that; a campaign that empowers voters.
Raising examples in that way suggests these are issues we should be talking about.
With the plethora of debates and all-candidates meetings taking place in October, voters have plenty of opportunities to ask candidates how they will address them. The TCSA’s done half the work for you by giving you the language to ask with.
Of course, the effectiveness of the campaign will depend on how well it is advertised. To reference the posters, I’ll admit, I had to do a bit of searching. If their brand ambassadors are as effective as they were with respect to the general meeting, we might be in some trouble.
If you give people a reason to go out and vote and let them know how to do it, they will. Let’s hope the campaigning at Trent, whether it’s put on by the TCSA or otherwise, does exactly that.