FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, November 24, 2016 – The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) welcomes the proposed amendments to the Canada Elections Act through Bill C-33. These amendments would eliminate a number of barriers that discourage post-secondary students from participating in elections, and likely serve to increase youth voter turnout in the future.
In particular, the re-introduction of Voter Identification Cards (VICs) as a valid form of identification at polling stations would facilitate voting for students. CASA called for the re-introduction of VICs as a valid for of ID in 2014.
“CASA is extremely happy to see the Voter Identification Cards (VICs) accepted as a piece of valid identification,” said John Rix, Chair of CASA’s Board of Directors and VP External of the UPEI Student Union. “Some students don’t have traditional pieces of identification like a driver’s license, which has been a barrier to voting in the past. In contrast to other types of identification, the VIC is easy to register for, can be obtained at no cost, and makes voting simpler.”
The expansion of the Chief Electoral Officer’s (CEO) communication mandate is also significant for students, because it would enable the CEO to run more active voter outreach campaigns across post-secondary campuses.
CASA views the creation of a National Register of Future Electors as another step in the right direction for increasing youth voter engagement. In short, this government initiative would bring students into the electoral process before they turn 18.
Lastly, the reintroduction of vouching into the electoral process would make it easier for students living temporarily in residence to vote.
“The proposed changes to Bill C-33 would make voting easier for post-secondary students and youth across Canada, and for that reason we applaud its introduction by this government,” said Rix.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 21 student associations representing 250,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Communications and Public Relations Officer
Phone: 613-236-3457 ext. 224