OTTAWA, September 4, 2019 - Today, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) and 36 student associations from across the country, are launching a nationwide Get Out the Vote campaign intended to encourage students to vote in the federal election. During this non-partisan campaign, student leaders will be throwing events, hosting all-party debates, and utilizing street teams to engage students on their campus and make sure they know that voting is a chance to help shape their future.
For many years, younger generations have been noticeably absent in elections. Many young people were either intimidated by the voting process, felt that their vote didn’t make a difference, or faced barriers such as not having the right proof of address or identity at the polls. To combat this problem, CASA ran its first iteration of the Get Out the Vote campaign in 2015, and managed to get 42,000 students to pledge to vote. That same election, voter turnout among 18-24 year olds increased by 18%! It became clear that mobilization efforts, such as CASA’s, as well as political parties’ efforts to connect with young people, made a big impact.
Due to the success of the 2015 campaign, CASA has decided to run it again this year, and will be kicking it up a notch with 36 student associations participating from almost every province in Canada.
“Throughout the Get Out the Vote campaign, we will be asking students to pledge to vote either online at getoutthevote.ca or on a paper pledge form,” explains Adam Brown, Chair of CASA and VP External at the University of Alberta Students’ Union. “Studies have shown that having a person promise to vote, especially to a peer, is an effective way of ensuring that they show up on voting day. Additionally, the campaign will remind students when and where they can vote when the time comes, with some student associations organizing walking parties or busses to the polling stations themselves.”
This year, voting should be easier for students. Because students have generally not yet settled in one place, they have traditionally faced difficulty proving their address and voting in elections. Fortunately, roughly 115 post-secondary institutions will have polling stations on campus a few weeks before election day, making it easier for students to get to the polls. Also, students will be able to use a wide variety of documents to prove their address, including leases, residence letters, and more.
Brown continues, “Millennials are the largest voting bloc this time around, so students and young people have the potential to make an enormous impact on this federal election. We want to make sure students know that voting is easy and that their vote counts.”
Students who want to participate in the campaign can visit getoutthevote.ca to pledge to vote or contact their student association to participate in on-campus campaign events.
Established in 1995, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit, national student organization composed of 23 student associations representing 280,000 post-secondary students from coast to coast. With its partnership with the Quebec Student Union (QSU), CASA represents a total of 360,000 students across Canada and presents a national student voice to the federal government. CASA advocates for a Canadian post-secondary education system that is accessible, affordable, innovative, and of the highest quality.
Lindsay Boyd, Director of Operations and Communications