A coalition of student-run organizations is campaigning for increased student voter turnout in the run-up to Ontario’s provincial election.
It’s Your Vote, a joint initiative of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA) and the College Student Alliance, aims to mobilize student voters, communicate with political parties on student issues, and make official policy recommendations to Ontario politicians.
According to Shawn Murphy, vice-president of university affairs at the Trent in Oshawa Student Association and member of the OUSA Steering Committee, It’s Your Vote aims to “provide college and university students, provincial politicians, and the general public with relevant information regarding what students would like to see in this election.”
The campaign’s main policy recommendations concern the affordability and accessibility of Ontario undergraduate education.
“We’re hopeful that this campaign will be a useful tool for encouraging students to vote at a time of the year where most students are not physically on our campuses,” he added.
In the most recent federal general election, voter turnout was 37 per cent for males aged 18–24 and 40 per cent for females aged 18–24.
According to Murphy, in the 2007 Ontario general election, the number of youth who did not vote could have changed the results in 67 of the 107 provincial ridings.
“Of the 34 ridings with a college or university, 26 had more student residents than the margin of victory, meaning that students could’ve effectively decided the composition of almost a quarter of the legislature,” he said.
The initiative’s website provides information about voter registration guides, eligibility rules, and special ballots.
Ontario’s provincial election is scheduled for June 12.