Over the time I’ve spent at Brock, there’s been plenty for students and community members to be angry about. There’s been strikes, protests and of course, voter apathy.
If I hadn’t been working for the paper, it’s unlikely I would’ve voted in my first-year or ever attended an Annual General Meeting (AGM) hosted by Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU). Every year that I’ve attended, there were just a handful of students there. It’s a sad fact that this is old news.
However, what I’ve begun to notice more in the past few years is the number of people who are at least vocal about the issue. It’s as though apathy is recognized more and more in the past few years –– though I’d never claim it to be a reality for such a short time. It’s simply that I hear about it as of late much more than I used to.
Despite this, the change in student voter turnout over these years has not been very drastic. In 2012, the year that BUSU began to e-mail students the link to their online ballot, the turnout was approximately 19.1 per cent of the student population. This past year, the turnout increased to roughly 27.4 per cent.
Now, I’ll admit that side by side that is a relatively significant improvement, but don’t forget: this was the second year that students could vote though their e-mail. That`s an entire year`s buffer for the students who somehow missed the daily e-mail in the first year.
Furthermore, it’s not even as if this is a problem of misinformed voters. Even a slightly successful student understands that you have to check your e-mail regularly to get by in university. The e-mailed ballot should’ve seen the votership skyrocket, although at that point the ease of voting could turn into a misinformation problem. At least that would have been refreshing.
More students seem to be occupying a middle ground of engagement, where they know something is wrong, but not enough to be compelled to action. While this may make for good conversation, it won’t make a difference if those talking about it fail to take action.
This year, if you heard about the poor AGM attendance, or the overwhelming number of abstentions from a vote in BUSAC or anything else that frustrated you: don’t just be heard, because it’s not enough.
Talk is cheap and so are these words. It’ll take effort on my part, but I’ll do my best to develop an informed opinion to act upon when it’s time to vote; you should too.
You can learn about the upcoming elections and referendums by reading the Brock Press’ feature elections coverage, tuning into BrockTV and by listening to Brock Radio.