SU’s Get Out The Vote campaign encourages students to vote in the provincial election
By Nazeefa Ahmed, May 19 2023—
On May 29, Albertans will hit the polls and vote for their next government. The Angus Reid Institute believes the election results will be heavily swayed by young voter turnout.
“The UCP holds a distinct demographic advantage. Its support is concentrated among those over the age of 54, a group historically more likely to vote than younger Albertans. The NDP risks being all hat no cattle should its supporters — concentrated among those under the age of 35 — fail to turn out to vote,” read an article on their website.
In an interview with the Gauntlet, Mateusz Salmassi, Students’ Union (SU) vice-president external emphasized how important it is that students vote in this provincial election, as critical decisions about housing, tuition hikes and job opportunities will be dependent on the winning party.
“As students, we are at a breaking point,” said Salmassi. “On top of a 33 per cent increase in tuition and a 20 per cent increase to our fees, we are experiencing the same cost of living crunch as everyone else. We are choosing between our education and basics like food and housing and that’s not okay. We have endured the fastest and largest tuition increase in Alberta’s history, paying much more and getting a lower quality of education.”
Advanced voting is open from May 23 to May 26 and students will be able to vote in the U of C Hunter Student Commons (HSC) or the Foothills Campus’ Heritage Medical Research Building (HMRB).
In a partnership between Village Ice Cream and the SU, students that take a picture outside of the polling station to show that they voted will receive free ice cream from May 25 to May 26. Salmassi hopes that the campaign will encourage students to exercise their democratic rights.
“The SU has partnered with Village Ice Cream as a way of encouraging students to vote and creating a more positive experience around the topic,” said Salmassi. “The pledge will provide students with non-partisan updates on where and how to vote.”
In his concluding remarks, Salmassi reminds students of their political power when they vote and have their voices heard in this election.
“This election is just too important for us to sit out,” Salamassi said. “Politicians will only listen if we show them that the student movement is alive and well. We need to show that we are united behind the fact that we can’t take more increases to tuition especially when students receive no additional benefits. As students, we have significant political power but we can only use that political power when we come together and actually vote at the ballot box and take action.”
Students that would like to learn more about the campaign can visit the SU Instagram profile. Pledging forms as well as information about voting times and locations on campus can be found on the SU website.