AMS launches campaign to engage students in the federal election

The AMS’s UBC Votes 2019 campaign is now underway with a mission to get UBC’s over 50,000 students involved with the 2019 federal election on October 21.

To increase voting accessibility for students, the AMS is running a two-part campaign to get students out to the polls and improve access to information about the election.

“We see barriers to … students being able to vote and this was an attempt to lower some of those barriers … [that was] really successful last year,” said AMS VP External Christina Ilnitchi, who is overseeing the campaign in her portfolio.

Voters aged 18 to 24 had a turnout greater than 50 per cent for the first time in the 2015 federal election. This accounted for an increase of 18.3 percentage points from the 2011 election where only 38.8 per cent of the age group voted. BC’s youth voter turnout is also one of the highest in the country, at 63.9 per cent in the last election.

“Young Canadians 18 to 25 [years old] are the single largest voting block in Canada. We have a lot of power and influence in this election,” said Ilnitchi.

The use of special ballots or advanced polls also nearly doubled for voters aged 18 to 24 across the country in the last election.

This year, special polling stations will be set up in the Nest from October 5 to 9. At the special polling stations, students, staff and faculty will be able to vote in any riding if they are registered outside of Vancouver Quadra.

According to Ilnitchi, the campaign also aims to help those “hindered by the fact that there’s so much information out there they don’t know where to go … to make it as easy as possible to access and digest information about the election by providing succinct resources.”

These resources will focus on what Ilnitchi called the five most important issues for students: affordable housing, healthcare, Indigenous rights, affordable education and climate action.

The AMS also plans to host several events as part of their campaign. Some of the events include hosting a debate between candidates running in Vancouver Quadra riding, inviting Lower Mainland candidates to booth in the Nest and holding debate watch parties.

“Overall our hope is that we can engage as many students on this campus as possible, even if they can’t vote to be aware of the election and to encourage people in their communities to go out and vote,” said Ilnitchi.