Students miss out on voting, thanks to summer break

An early June provincial election could mean a lower youth vote this week.
Cambrian College students Alistair Woods, Lindsey Turpin and Rebecca Dorst have either had trouble voting or have heard of fellow students who have. This year's provincial elections falls at a time when many students are away from home and campus. (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC)

An early June provincial election could mean a lower youth vote this week.

With students away from campus, some student unions say it's harder for them to answer common student questions about voting.

Low youth voter turnout is nothing new when it comes to elections, but an election held during summer break further compounds the problem.

Alastair Woods, who is with the Canadian Federation of Students Ontario, said student unions answer students' voting questions, set up on-campus polling stations, and even help students with mail-in ballots to their hometowns — during the school year.

The task of encouraging young people to vote is made more difficult when an election is held during summer break, simply because the students have moved and they're away from campus.

Cambrian college student Lindsey Turpin didn't receive a voters’ card, and said she was confused by the Elections Ontario website while trying to find her polling station.

“If it wasn’t a summer election there would be more going on in the school and other people would have known, like, which [poll] was closest to me instead of trying to use a website that's supposed to make it easy and then didn't,” she said.

According to Elections Ontario, students are allowed to vote in either their hometown riding or the riding where they go to school.

Rebecca Dorst said she wants to vote for the first time.

But the Cambrian college student said she's encountered nothing but roadblocks trying to register.

She needs to prove she lives in Sudbury, even though all of her ID has the address of her hometown of Bowmanville.

She said the confusion is enough to discourage fellow students from casting a ballot.

“A lot of students I've talked to are in the same boat as me,” she said.

“They're from a different city, and they are like, ‘well I'm just not going to vote.”

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