Ideas for how to increase voter turnout this AMS elections season

I’ve decided to give student feedback and pitch some unconventional suggestions. Stephanie Xu

AMS elections season is in full swing with voting being held March 5 to 9. It’s the most exciting and busiest time of the year for The Ubyssey, the electoral candidates and that’s pretty much it.

This year’s race is a face-off between cookie-cutter student politicians competing to be the one to “enhance your UBC student experience” and “shape your academic career.”

If you haven’t been keeping up, it’s understandable. Student politics isn’t the most engaging topic despite “engagement” being a favourite buzzword.

But voting is important and since AMS elections is always looking for new ways to increase voter turnout, I’ve decided to give student feedback and pitch some unconventional suggestions.

Up the stakes

In the 2013 AMS referendum when the U-Pass was up for renewal there was record breaking voter turnout with 22,405 students showing up. The threat of disappearance is real again this year, but it couldn’t hurt to promise some new ones near and dear to the students’ hearts.

With fall reading break seemingly unattainable, I suggest bringing back the pledge to get Drake or Chipotle to campus.

Bring artistic expression into campaign posters

As the Cult confirmed, the campaign posters this year are lacklustre in the pizzazz arena. My advice is the same — forgo the professional Photoshop and go old-school with Microsoft Word and cheesy graphics.

Loosen up a little and throw in a meme for the kids. Or, do something crazy and create a mural of your campaign promises on the plaza outside the Nest. Take it from UBC, it’s a guaranteed way to draw attention to your priorities.

More interesting debate styles

Getting the candidates out of their comfort zones will get more people to the polls. Have the SLFS candidates lay down their law platforms with a rap battle. Or, invest in some inflatable sumo suits and get everyone to literally battle it out.

Is it the most productive way for voters to understand the candidates’ platforms? Probably not. But, at least we’ll know who’s willing to really fight for student issues.

Where are the joke candidates?

This year is unfortunately free of joke candidates to spice up the race. Or maybe it’s not? As evident from the great debate, people still aren’t 100 per cent sure with Lin’s campaign. Last year we had a joke candidate turn serious, now this year we might have a serious turned joke candidate.

Have more interesting serious candidates

Most of the candidates are extremely experienced, qualified and well-rounded with pretty agreeable platforms. But let’s be honest — are their promises enticing enough to make students sprint to the polls when the AMS reminder to vote email comes out? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, Point Grey seems like a lovely option for Beltway types looking to spice up their retirement...