By Derek Cornet
Election Day has come and Regina has entered a new civic era, but many students at the University of Regina feel they weren’t represented in this year’s election.
Students revealed several reasons they feel left out of the election. Among them was voter eligibility, a lack of issues being addressed that are of importance to students, and no real motivation by candidates to lobby them to vote.
Third year media studies student, Alysha Cook, felt that none of the candidates in her ward were sympathetic or understanding of the plight that students face. She said she wasn’t going to vote in this election because there were no candidates who had motivated her to.
“Most of us have to get second jobs just to afford to pay the rent and get to class,” Cook said. “I think it would be really nice and beneficial for the candidates to acknowledge that students do need help.”
The Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG) realized that many students were apathetic to the election this year and decided to try and motivate student to cast a vote. Halena Seiferling, the outreach and events coordinator with RPIRG, contacted all the mayoral candidates and published a report card whose grade depended on five questions that were asked. She said that the report card was a great success because they had a surge of visits to their site after it was released. Seiferling hopes that their efforts will have an effect on student voter turnout this year.
“I feel like there have been some students who have been really interested, but a lot I’ve found haven’t been very receptive.”
When speaking with students she said the main reasons given were they were unable to vote because they hadn’t lived in Regina for three consecutive months preceding the election, and students haven’t been engaged by candidates.
“I think perhaps some of the candidates may have addressed some of the student’s issues within their own platforms, but I don’t think they’ve been trying to lobby the students explicitly,” Seiferling said.
The election wasn't ignored by all students however. Geology student Bori Arrobo felt that it was his duty to vote in the civic election because there was too much at stake. While he identified low cost housing and transportation as important issues in the election, he said he was really casting his vote because of the new stadium debate.
“The money that is going to be spent with the stadium is something that should be watched carefully. I think we should elect people that are willing to look at it more closely.”