Just over nine per cent of eligible voters turned out for the recent Students’ Association election.
There were “around 16,700 eligible voters,” according to Don MacRae, a manager with the SA.
Of the more-than 16,000 voters, 1,495 students voted for president and 1,464 voted for vice-president. This means a grand total of 9.1 per cent of eligible voters actually cast a ballot.
There are three main reasons why voter turnout has sagged in recent years, according to Daniel Stockemer, associate professor of political studies at the University of Ottawa.
One reason is a lack of political socialization, meaning people rarely talk politics around the family dinner table. Another reason is the fact that many political parties are very similar in nature – voters don’t see much difference between them. Additionally, “voters have a general dissatisfaction with politics,” said Stockemer. “Just look at the U.S., satisfaction with Congress is at 16 per cent.”
SA elections have especially low turnouts. This is because of the fact that many students in their last year of study don’t bother voting, according to Annie Thomlinson, the manager of marketing and communications for the SA. This is because they will no longer attend the college in the fall and feel that the election will not affect them.
The college is doing everything it can to entice students to vote. Students had the chance to get a $1,000 rebate on tuition if they cast a vote.
“It’s just kind of an added offer,” in the hopes of boosting turnout, said Thomlinson.