Hard time voting in election, Corner Brook students say
Some university students in Corner Brook said they were turned away at the polled on Tuesday's municipal election, even though they had been living in the city for the required 30 days.
According to the student union at Memorial University's Grenfell campus, students who believed they were qualified to vote in the city couldn't.
Nick Mercer, the vice-president external of the student union, said students felt they were the targets of discrimination at the polls.
"Students felt as though they were discriminated against on the basis of age [and] sex in some cases, and their residency requirements were questioned by supervisors at polling stations,” Mercer said.
"So even though we had citizens who truly believed that they were citizens of Corner Brook — they had been here for 30 days, they made the determination themselves — they were ultimately turned away from the polls."
According to Mercer, students who had permanent addresses still encountered difficulties.
"Lots of students here who live in private apartments had the proof, [but] some of these students still had some trouble. But we had a lot of trouble with students who lived in residence," he said.
"Even people who lived in Corner Brook their whole lives but attend residence while they're in school had a lot of trouble at the polling stations, so it was really unclear."
Students claim discrimination
Mercer said he thinks there may have been a lack of preparation with the deputy returning officers at the polling stations about how to deal with student voters.
He said that other students who were able to vote complained of discrimination.
"There were a lot of comments made about young girls being interested in politics by people at polling stations," Mercer said.
"There were also comments made about people being so young."
Mercer said some of the female student voters were upset about comments made toward them.
"People were called kiddies, and it was said that it was strange for girls to be interested in politics," he said.
"It's hard to believe that things like that are still being said in this day and age, especially how hard students worked in this election."
The city said in a release that it is aware of the concerns, and has asked the student union to collect written documentation so it can investigate the situation.