One such project is a “Rock the Vote” campaign which will be sending out a street team and using social media in an attempt to get students to vote.
Advanced polling stations will also be set up to make it easier for students to vote. Students need only bring identification such as a driver’s licence or their student card and proof of residency.
“We’ve been working with Elections NB. We’ll have an advanced polling station in the SUB cafeteria for the week before the election — the 15 to the 19. The polling stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. That makes it so much easier for students to vote,” said Greg Bailey, president of the UNBSU.
Students who participate in the upcoming election by voting will receive reduced admission to UNB’s Rock the Vote concert, this year featuring Rich Aucoin, on Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. in the SUB.
Alec Boudreau is a UNB student who will be voting in the provincial election. For him, it’s all about getting young voices in the province heard.
“Only by voting will our elected representatives begin to listen to us,” he said.
Students can also get engaged in the election by attending two debates held on the UNB and STU campuses.
The first debate, hosted by the New Brunswick Student Alliance, was held on Sept. 8 at STU’s Kinsella auditorium. Present were Minister of Post-Secondary Education Jody Carr, Green Party leader David Coon, Liberal candidate for Oromocto-Lincoln Trisha Hoyt, People’s Alliance candidate for Oromocto-Lincoln Jeff Langille and former Education Minister and NDP candidate for Fredericton South Kelly Lamrock.
“Basically we asked the parties to send their most knowledgeable person on post-secondary education to talk about the issues,” Bailey said.
The second debate is hosted by the student unions of both STU and UNB. It will be held in the SUB Cafeteria on Sept. 11 at 1:30 p.m. This debate will feature the local riding candidates of Fredericton South: David Coon, Roy Wiggins, Kelly Lamrock, Craig Leonard and Courtney Mills.
Bailey hopes that the number of student voters improves this year as opposed to the poor statistics of the last election in 2010.
“The last time we had an election the turnout wasn’t great. There was a voting station set up in the Student Union hallway [of the SUB] for close to a month before the election. It was out of the way and this is the kind of thing people leave to the last minute,” Bailey said.
Students are one of the busiest demographics out there and for some that makes voting difficult.
“I’m undecided on whether I’ll vote or not. I work and go to school full-time so when I have time, voting isn’t high on my list of priorities,” said Tamara Maher, a second-year arts student at UNB.
But Bailey believes that student votes can make a difference.
“Youth ages 18 to 24 as a whole vote below the national average. People who have post-secondary education or who are in post-secondary education vote way above the national average according to [Statistics Canada]. We want to show that we’re an important demographic to listen to,” he said.
“Politicians listen to people who vote. All the data is out there — you can tell which demographics vote. The people who vote are the people who parties try to attract.”