Predicting apathy

Publication YearIssue Date 

Every year about this time, the Gauntlet holds a Students' Union General Election pool. We don't bet on the winners like you might think-president would be an easy guess. No, we're betting on voter turnout. During the October by-election, a lucky Gauntleteer took home over forty big ones for an optimistic guess of 2.4 per cent turnout, just a hair over the actual 2.38.

Keeping with tradition, the pool is back and going strong. The stakes are higher-the pot is already over $100-and the issues more complex. With the U-Pass on the ballot and online voting starting up, one would expect a higher turnout. But with acclamations for the President, Vice-President Operations and Finance and every commissioner position, there isn't much left to vote for.

The numbers certainly range. The highest pick is an astounding 23.5 per cent, while the lowest is 12.5. A certain SU executive member gave 15 as his guess, and the rest float somewhere in between.

Clearly, we have a problem. The fact that someone is about to clean up with a substantial pot with numbers so low is rather disheartening. Frankly, students don't care enough the vote. Even with the online voting-a great idea, mind you-nothing much will change.

Every year, people bitch about apathy and quite honestly, this year I find myself doing the same thing. Yes, nobody cares about student politics and no, for the most part students don't even know who's running, despite the barrage of posters around campus. But this is really nothing new. Every party involved seems to blame someone else for this sad, sad reality. Students blame the SU, the SU blames students and sometimes the Gauntlet while the Gauntlet blames the SU and students. It's a vicious circle.

So who should you really blame? In all honesty, I have no answers. There are way too many forces at work contributing to a campus of disillusioned, uninformed, apathetic students. This problem has been a reality for so long that chalking it up to one bad SU isn't going to cut it. I'll admit that it's rather ironic that the student newspaper-who consistently bitched about student apathy and burn the SU for it-are voting on how apathetic students are, but it's a reality.

However, if you're at the point where you want someone to blame, you're probably already at the point where you can actually do something about it. So prove me wrong. Vote this week and, when the e-ballots are all counted, you can say you told me so.

Although, if you don't vote-which most of you won't-at least you'd help some lucky stiff win some cash.