The Government of Alberta tabled the Elections Accountability Amendment Act today in the Legislature and among the many changes is one that aims to make it easier for Alberta’s post-secondary students to vote. If passed, the new law will allow students to vote either in the electoral district where they lived prior to their studies or where they live while going to school.
“This is a dramatic improvement for students,” said Julia Adolf, Vice President Academic at the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union and member of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS). “We saw dozens of students turned away on election day last April because the law was too restrictive, it forced you to vote where your family lives. The proposed changes make it easy for everyone to understand that it is the student who determines in which electoral district they reside.”
CAUS has been advocating for changes to how ordinary residency is determined for post-secondary students since the 2008 election, which saw record low numbers for voter turnout, especially among youth. Alberta Justice and Elections Alberta have been actively working with CAUS in modernizing the language in the Elections Act through the summer and fall to reflect the realities of today’s students.
“We are pleased with the amendments,” said Duncan Wojtaszek, CAUS Executive Director. “These changes are going to make a real difference in getting post-secondary students out to vote and will ensure that every student’s voice can be heard in the next election.”