Approximately 1,600 voters turned up at the special polling stations on the UNB and NBCC Fredericton campuses. They were among 70,000 student voters across Canada.
UNB Fredericton was one of 39 campuses across Canada to have a special polling station in a pilot program by Elections Canada. The program, which ran from Oct. 5-8, was started as a way to achieve more youth engagement in the polls.
“I think it’s just incredible that so many students got out to vote in those four days,” said Katie Davey, president of the UNBSU. “It’s just really encouraging seeing so many students actually getting out to vote and being engaged in the conversation.”
The special polling stations granted students the opportunity to register and vote in any riding in Canada—either the riding where the university was located or the student’s home riding.
At UNB, over half of the voters cast their ballot in a riding outside Fredericton. For many voters, it came down to a question of where their vote would be most effective.
“I think it is in students’ best interest to vote in the riding that they feel will allow their vote to have the greatest impact in making their voices heard in parliament,” said UNB student Kevin Collins.
“I have been watching the poll numbers quite closely in order to determine in which riding my vote will be most effective in achieving my goal of increasing the number of representatives from a party that represents my interests and political beliefs.”
Sadie Molland, a student from Acadia University, is voting in her home riding for strategic reasons.
“It seems doubtful that my school riding will yield anything but Liberal, and since I wanted to vote for one of the progressive parties I figured I’d vote in a region where those parties need a little bit more help,” she said.
Other students voted for their university’s riding. Davey was first in line when the polls opened to do just that.
“I voted for the Fredericton riding. Well, I’ve now lived here for five years. It’s the riding I go to school in; it’s the riding I live in; it’s the riding I work in, so I think it just made sense to vote in this riding,” she said.
Emily Brauen, a student at Dalhousie University, which also had campus polls, voted in Halifax for similar reasons. “I voted in my school riding rather than home, mostly for personal reasons … Halifax is the riding I’ve mostly consistently lived in for the past few years.”