Voting stations arrive on N.B. campuses
Last Updated: Friday, September 3, 2010 | 8:32 AM ET
Elections New Brunswick is setting up satellite voting stations on university campuses across the province to increase the number of young voters.
In 2006, it was found only 50 per cent of voters under the age of 24 turned out on election day. So this time, satellite returning offices are being set up at some of the province's universities early.
Meghan McGratten, the youth co-ordinator for Elections New Brunswick, said for the first time, students on campuses in Fredericton, Edmundston, Moncton and Saint John will be able to vote at the satellite stations from now until election day.
"We did a lot of research, a lot of consultation with different students' groups about what exactly are the barriers that are preventing young people from hitting the polls, and a big part of that was accessibility," McGratten said.
Students will also be able to vote in their home ridings at the polling stations.
Shannon Carmont-McKinley, the president of the University of New Brunswick Student Union, said the returning offices are a "fabulous opportunity" for students.
"They're able to access and be able to vote in their home ridings where they're more familiar with the politics, with the candidates and with the priorities of what they want in their home ridings," Carmont-McKinley said.
It's estimated that roughly 40,000 students could take advantage of the satellite returning offices.
Paul Harpelle, a spokesman with Elections NB, said the agency will assess how many students take advantage of the new setup to see if it's worth repeating during the next election.
The phones and data lines were still being hooked up at the University of New Brunswick campus in Fredericton on Thursday as the campus's returning office opened for its first day.