Fredericton students may find it easier to cast their vote in September’s provincial election.
Expanding on a pilot project from the 2010 election, Elections New Brunswick is rolling out new campus polling stations across the province, including more for college hill students.
“We’re going to try to serve a lot more campuses and we’re going to set up in areas that are high traffic and very apparent and obvious,” said Mike Quinn, chief electoral officer for Elections New Brunswick.
In the 2010 election, there was only one campus polling station in Fredericton, which was located in a secluded office in the UNB Student Union Building (SUB). But this fall, there will be one located at St. Thomas University and NBCC. The polling at UNB will be moved from an office to the busy SUB cafeteria.
There will also be more campus polling stations added in the Saint John, Edmunston and Moncton areas. Students who claim residence in New Brunswick will be able to vote the candidate in their campus riding, or at their home riding.
“We’ll have all of the same services that we had before, but this time we’re going to concentrate on the high-traffic areas and do them in the last week of the election.” Quinn said.
Quinn said the 2010 campus polls brought in 2665 votes. He hopes to see this number increased with the new stations.
“[Youth] have a certain point of view that should be put forward and I think that the more people that take part in the democratic process, the stronger it is,” he said.
UNB Student Union president Ben Whitney said bringing UNB’s polling station to the SUB cafeteria is a good move.
“Necessary privacy measures will obviously be in place, which should alleviate many concerns,” Whitney said. “Making voting more visible and easier for students is a great way in which to encourage folks to get out to vote, and I’m excited this is happening in the provincial election.”
With more polling stations planned for campuses across the province, he hopes the new system will get students more engaged in government.
“This is a great way to help get students out to vote and have them get more involved and interested in provincial politics,” he said. “Voting is incredibly important and any way we can make it more accessible for students is great.”