Record-breaking voter turnout at MRU
Mount Royal increased their voter turnout by 8 per cent at the polls this election
The Students’ Association of Mount Royal University finished their 10-day-long election period on March 5, in which full time credit students could vote for the SAMRU President, Vice President Student Academic Affairs, Vice President Student External Affairs and Vice President Student University Affairs.
This year, 2,503 eligible students voted, making up 23 per cent of the total eligible population, which is a significant improvement from last year’s 15 per cent turnout, according to SAMRU’s webpage.
How did we compare to other post-secondary institutions? According to Crystal Schick’s article from the Weal, SAIT’s student newspaper, only 8.41 per cent of eligible students voted in their 2013 election. However, the University of Calgary tops both SAIT and MRU with last year’s 27.8 per cent voter turnout, according to the U of C news webpage.
As for the most recent elections, Amanda Siebert’s article from the Weal states that SAIT’s voter turnout jumped up to 10.55 per cent of eligible students this year. The U of C also had an increase in their already higher voter turnout. The percentage of eligible students who voted for their 2014 elections is 28.8 per cent, according to the website.
If you have been around MRU a during the first week of March, chances are you have noticed the posters and fellow students advocating the candidates. When students are surrounded by reminders of the election, why is it then that many still choose not to vote?
One of the common beliefs that students have about voting for their Student’s association leaders is that it will take too much time.
Several people felt that it was not the voting itself that would take long, but the research on each of the candidates.
Tori Hilton, a second year education student expressed similar views saying that she wanted to be well informed and not choose at random, but felt she did not have the time to learn more about what the candidates offered.
Kassie Patterson, a first-year student in open studies, proposed another reason why voting may be a challenge.
“I’m only at school twice a week,” she said.
A solution for students who lack regular access to the university, or time to spare, is that voting was available online for more than half of the total election period. According to the SAMRU voting webpage, 1,063 or about 42.5 per cent of the voters chose to use the online method for voting.
As for the issue raised about a lack of time to read up on the candidates in order to be well informed before voting, there are several ways which this information could have been retrieved. Fliers around the university contained information about the candidates, including what position they were running for and what their platform were.
Shortly before the election period began, there was a debate amongst the candidates, which students could watch. Additionally, if students have no time at all, there are posters everywhere with tidbits of information regarding what each candidate would strive for if elected.
For more information on the Student’s Association elections or on the winners, visit www.samru.ca.