Only 137 students cast ballots in the UNBSU by-election, putting this year’s voter turnout down to around three per cent of total student population.
“We recognize that this number is low, but many measures were taken to promote voter turnout,” said UNBSU president Katie Davey.
Regardless of voter turnout, Davey said, students still voted for who they felt would best represent them. The UNBSU ratified the election results at their council meeting October 18TH. The new Science Representative, Aboriginal rep, Accessibility rep, Education rep and Computer Science reps on UNBSU student council were all filled.
Some students feel that the results shouldn’t be counted. Most didn’t realize there was a by-election.
“I don’t think they should count it if they only got 137 votes,” said Rachel Mcquade, a first year science student.
Students may be participating less in student politics, but Davey said the UNBSU will continue to focus on promoting its elections by informing students and collecting feedback.
The UNBSU advertised the campaign and elections in The Brunswickan and promoted them through all of its social media channels. The voting period ran from Oct. 5
“The UNBSU also reached out to each faculty that was missing a representative to encourage candidates to run,” said Davey.
The by-election ran alongside the Get Out The Vote campaign. Student leaders at UNB, STU and others across Canada have worked throughout the federal election campaign, which wrapped up Monday, Oct. 19, to get more students to cast federal ballots. The focus on federal politics may have been part of the reason UNBSU’s by-election participation was so low.
“It is possible that the Get Out The Vote campaign may have distracted from our efforts around the UNBSU by-election,” said Davey. “However, we have already seen an incredible increase in student turnout at the federal level.”
Davey says that the Get Out The Vote campaign has provided the UNBSU with is lessons to apply to its future elections in terms of encouraging more students to vote for their representatives.