By Ryan Pike
Despite the national trend towards political disengagement, not all student elections are dull affairs with low voter turnout. St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish boasted a 60.4 per cent voter turnout in this week’s general election.
Their secret? In an interview with the Xaverian Weekly, chief electoral officer Michael MacIsaac mentioned a focus by the St. FX Students’ Union on promotion, including multiple candidate debates and an election blog run on the SU website.
On our own campus, the Students’ Union has utilized a two-pronged approach. Not only are they attempting to raise awareness about the importance of voting, but of becoming a candidate.
“I always feel that the more candidates you have, the higher votes are going to be,” says University of Calgary SU president Dalmy Baez. “Mostly because those candidates will have their own fan-base within the student population. So this year we really tried to throw out a campaign before elections, not so much about voting, but actually running in the elections.”
Recently, St. FX’s sky-high turnout prompted a challenge by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa to its members to top their eastern counterpart. The St. FX SU stepped up in response, resulting in the phenomenal turnout.