Looking for ideas to encourage Canadian university students to vote
October 3, 2008 9:09 PM   Subscribe

Looking for ideas to encourage Canadian university students to vote in the next federal election [more inside]

I currently live in Alberta, which has had a less than great voter turnout in the recent elections. I am looking for interesting material (text or graphics) to post on my office door to encourage a few more students to vote in the upcoming election. Bonus points for environmentally related content. I know this sounds lame, but even if this futile attempt makes one or two students more likely to vote, it will still make me a happy citizen.

A few more details:
- This is in University of Alberta in Edmonton. While the city is overwhelmingly right-leaning, there are a few districts (for instance Edmonton Centre) that may flip to Liberals or NDP with enough turnout.
- I have already posted the flyer sent by Election Canada, with the date of the election highlighted.
- This chart which I actually found on MeFi, will also be posted soon.

Any other suggestions?
posted by lenny70 to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Okay, by a show of hands, who here has heard of the United States of America? Okay, and who here has been watching the news for the last eight years..."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:23 PM on October 3, 2008

In the US, there are two real keys to voter turnout. One is voter registration, and the other is voter transport to polling stations. If you can organise both of those things, you get your voters into their booths.

If you're limiting your efforts to the expanse of your office door, I think the most helpful things you could do would be:

1/ A tear-off pile of voter registration forms nailed to the door.
2/ A car pool or "walk the vote" signup so people can give each other lifts or walk to vote en mass.

Depending on the location of your campus vs where most of these students would be going to vote, I can see something fun, social and involving a large group like a "Walk the Vote" campaign really working.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:38 PM on October 3, 2008

University students are more likely to care about copyright than the average voter. Finding some way to highlight the disastrous copyright bill (C-61) that the Harper government introduced not long before Parliament dissolved. Michael Geist has a lot of information about C-61 on his website.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:40 PM on October 3, 2008

Tell people that it's ok to vote conservative. I bet the majority of the political material students see is left-leaning or anti-Harper, and it makes conservative students feel alienated. Participation is what's important.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:02 PM on October 3, 2008

The Don't Vote video is american, but the message travels extremely well.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:39 PM on October 3, 2008

Tell them if Harper and his buddies get a majority, anyone in an arts program might as well go get a job at the grocery store and be done with it. Tell them anyone who enjoys the current state of downloading and copyright as it legally exists in Canada should start saving money for those $500/incident fines that will be coming. And most importantly, tell them if they don't vote (for whoever they want to), they aren't allowed to bitch about whatever happens after the election, since they didn't care enough to participate.
posted by barc0001 at 2:24 AM on October 4, 2008

Hot people doing the pitch to encourage people to vote.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:16 AM on October 4, 2008

DarlingBri has very good suggestions. Provide registration forms and information about absentee voting or early voting if you have it. If you can find a way to help them get to the polls even better. That is where the real difficulty lies.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:39 AM on October 4, 2008

i heard on NPR about a facebook app that compares your facebook-friends names to voter registrations. Basically it shows which of all those 'loud-mouthed hotheads who talk about how they are going to vote' are actually able to vote. Apparently, voter registration among young people in these college towns is going up.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 7:19 PM on October 4, 2008

link i think to the facebook thing i was talking about.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 7:21 PM on October 4, 2008

Make sure they know how easy it is to go out and vote.

Here to find their riding, and all the information on when and where they can vote.

Also let them know about advance polls (they might be over by now), and their right to time off work to go vote, if need be. Tell them registration is as simple as a Health Card and a bank statement. People in this age group who don't already vote are often unaware of how quick and painless it is, given a little effort to find your polling station. I also think it might help if you encouraged young people to look less at the parties, and more at the MPs who will be working for their riding.
posted by sunshinesky at 7:55 PM on October 4, 2008

Here's a no brainer ... Make sure that students have the time to go vote, unlike my alma mater:
The law does not oblige the University to cancel classes or other activities to allow three consecutive hours of voting time for those students who have a right to vote. Consequently, classes and laboratories should take place as usual.
posted by DrSkrud at 1:06 PM on October 6, 2008

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