Advance polls are already open and the first ballots are being cast in the Alberta provincial election, but not everybody is going to get the chance to vote. Post-secondary students are singled out by Alberta’s Elections Act as being required to vote where their family lives rather than in the community where they are a student.
“It’s appalling to see people turned away from voting because of a law that seems to treat students as children rather than adults,” said Zack Moline, U of L SU President and chair of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS). “Students should not be forced to forego their right to vote just because they moved to go to school.”
University of Lethbridge student Storm Lafferty was turned away from an advance poll on April 20 in the constituency of Lethbridge-West. “I went in to get my ballot and they told me I don’t live here. I’ve lived here since September and just want to vote like everyone else in Lethbridge,” said Lafferty.
CAUS has been calling for Alberta to update its election laws since 2008 to make it easier for students to vote. Alberta is the only province other than Nova Scotia that does not allow students to choose to vote in the constituency they are studying in.
“It’s really disappointing to see this again this election. Students have met with government since 2009 on this issue to ensure no students were unfairly disenfranchised. We are going to continue to push for changes to the Elections Act after April 23 to ensure this is resolved before 2016,” said Moline.
For more information contact:
Duncan Wojtaszek, Executive Director