2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Get Out The Vote

By Susan Anderson, September 18 2014 —

If you don’t vote, you’ve got no right to complain — at least that’s what a new club at the University of Calgary thinks. The recently sanctioned Get Out The Vote club is kickstarting their campaign at Clubs Week, looking to recruit members and encourage young voters.

“The idea is promoting voting all the way from Students’ Union elections to federal elections and everything in between,” said vice-president external relations Chris Bell.
The club wants to give students the information they need to vote and exercise their democratic rights.

Thirty-nine per cent of 18–24 year olds voted in the 2011 federal election, according to Elections Canada, and 28.8 per cent of U of C students voted in the 2014 Students’ Union elections.

Bell hopes to use Get Out The Vote to reassure students that every vote makes a difference.

“I personally ran in the Students’ Union election last year and I lost by one vote, so definitely every vote does matter,” Bell said.

Vice-president communications Haider Ali said civic engagement is what will get students excited about voting.

“I want people to know that they can make a change,” he said.  “You have to find one issue that you care about and go out from there.”

The club looks to address accessibility and motivational barriers.

According to Bell, some people don’t know how to vote, while others choose not to.

The club is planning a broad range of events, from speakers to creative advertising to a zombie-movie marathon to get students thinking about why they should vote.

SU vice-president external Levi Nilson is excited to work with the new club. He said the SU is planning Get Out The Vote initiatives for the 2015 fall federal election.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations plans to use similar tactics to what the SU ran in the 2012 provincial election, which involved registering students beforehand and calling students on election day to tell them where to vote and what identification they would need.

With a club dedicated to voting, the idea of who to vote for arises, along with political affiliations. Ali said helping students choose who to vote for isn’t their job.

“There is that spirit of vigilance,” Bell said. “You leave your partisan leanings behind.”

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet