Kitchener-Waterloo

Special polling stations open at local campuses

Special polling stations have been set up at Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph. It's a way to encourage students to vote, but anyone is able to vote at the locations.

Polling stations will run until 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph

Students walk toward the voting station at Conestoga College in Kitchener Monday morning. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Students at Conestoga College, the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University can vote at special polling stations until this Wednesday.

On Conestoga's campus, canvassers with the non-partisan group Future Majority were walking up to students to let them know they could vote.

Nicole Hellinga, a nursing student, admitted to canvassers she wasn't sure exactly how the voting process would work for her. 

"My parents were saying they weren't sure if I had to come home and do it, and I didn't know how to do it on a Monday with my classes," said Hellinga, who is from Guelph. "I just didn't know who to talk to about that."

Emery Nicholls went around noon Monday to cast her ballot.

"Our vote is really important to make sure that everything that we want is going to come out," Nicholls said. "I feel like with our demographic voting, we're voting towards the future as opposed to the older population's voting. We're the people that are going to have to deal with it and not them."

Thomas Star is in pre-health sciences and was also approached by a canvasser from Future Majority who told him he could go vote.

"I kind of took advantage of it. [I] had some spare time, and figured hey, why not? Go vote," he said.

'It's really accessible for students'

In 2015, there were about 40 on-campus polling locations across Canada.

This year, there are more than 115, according to Elections Canada.

People can vote in the riding of their "ordinary residence," meaning if they are away from home, they can vote in their home riding using the special ballot.

They can also vote in their current riding as long as they bring identification that proves where they live.

Maeve Sharkey and Kirsten Neil are organizing fellows with Future Majority.

"There hasn't been much of a line so they're able to get in and out within five minutes to get their vote cast and counted in ridings across the country. So, yeah, they're pretty excited about that," Sharkey said.

The group has a goal of getting at least 2,000 students to cast a ballot before the station closes at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"It's pretty exciting to be seeing those numbers come in already with canvassers bringing students to the polls," Neil said.

Maeve Sharkey, left, and Kirsten Neil are organizing fellows with the group Future Majority. The group's goal is to encourage young people, including college and university students, to vote in the federal election. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Polling stations open to others

The polling stations aren't just for students — anyone can go vote there so long as they bring proper identification and fill out the paperwork for a special ballot.

At Conestoga College, voters can go to the Student Recreation Centre on the Doon Campus in Kitchener. The polling station is located on the second floor.

At the University of Waterloo, there are two polling stations. One is located in the Mathematics and Computer Building in room 2037 and the other is in the Student Life Centre in room 2135.

At Wilfrid Laurier University, the polling station is located in the Kateri Room at St. Michael's Catholic Church at 80 University Ave. W.

People can also go to the University of Guelph. The polling station there is located in the University Centre's Peter Clark Hall.

The polls will be open 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

There are also advanced polls between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. over the upcoming long weekend, from Friday, Oct. 11 to Monday, Oct. 14.

Locations for the advanced polls can be found on voter information cards or through the Elections Canada website.

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