Humber by-election ends with low voter turnout

by | Oct 2, 2014 | News

HSF elections polling station

HSF presidential elections came to a close Tuesday. FILE PHOTO

By Kendra Hamilton

The results are in: most Humber students didn’t seem to care to vote in the most recent election on campus.

The voter turnout at this week’s Humber Student Federation presidential by-election was just 7.34 per cent.

Thomas Walton, the newly elected HSF President, won with 822 of the 2,134 votes cast, meaning a mere 2.9 per cent of the 28,454 full-time students at Humber voted for Walton.

Several students said they didn’t vote because they felt they weren’t given enough information about the election.

“I didn’t know a lot about the candidates,” said Heather Harlock, a 23-year-old Hospitality & Tourism Operations Management student. “There were a lot of signs but I didn’t see the candidates speaking anywhere. I didn’t feel I had enough information to make an informed decision,”

Voting booths were set up around campus for student to cast their ballot. FILE PHOTO

Voting booths were set up around campus for student to cast their ballot. FILE PHOTO

Other students said they simply couldn’t be bothered to become informed or cast their vote.

“I’m not big on voting,” said Ravjit Medhar, a 19-year-old student in 3D Animation. “I just don’t care about politics.”

“I saw the booths,” said Marsha Darius, a 31-year-old paralegal student. “But, I was, like, eeeh, never mind – I don’t feel like voting.”

“I didn’t even know we had (an election),” said Katie Summers, a 24-year-old law clerk student.

Even those Humber students who did vote expressed little interest or understanding of the election.

“I forget who I voted for,” said James Mustafa, an 18-year-old business management student who said he voted because a girl at the polling station asked him to. “The guy in the top left corner of the page, I think.”

Mustafa said he doesn’t know who won the election.

Walton said though voter turnout was low he is still pleased with the number of students who did choose to cast a ballot. The by-election was held early in the year and there was not much time to advertise and campaign, he said.

“I’m not actually surprised,” said Walton. “It’s a better turn out than expected.”

Eric Collings, Chair of the Board of Directors for HSF, said he was also happy with the voter turnout.

“A lot of them believe that their vote doesn’t count, it doesn’t matter. It’s a shame actually.” – Collings

“It’s a by-election in September, to have 7.4 per cent come out is fantastic,” he said. Collings said 18 to 26-year-olds are the least concerned with voting in any kind of election and so they don’t often turn out in great numbers.

HSF staff await Humber student coming to cast their ballots in the presidential by-elections. FILE PHOTO

HSF staff await Humber student coming to cast their ballots in the presidential by-elections. FILE PHOTO

“You look at federal elections and barely any actually show up to vote,” he said.

The most recent statistics from Elections Canada do show that voter turnout in Canadian federal elections among 18 to 24-year-olds is 38.8 per cent while it is 75.1 per cent for Canadians ages 65 to 74.

“It’s the apathy that a lot of people in this age demographic have for voting,” Collings said.

Young people don’t seem to have any attention toward politics, Walton agreed.

“They don’t really care, like, ‘what’s in it for me?’ in a sense,’” he said.

Both Collings and Walton said that they would like to see an increase in the number of students who participate in future elections. The HSF will have to find creative ways for people to get involved further down the road, said Walton.

“Part of our job is to really increase the awareness of what’s really going on,” he said, adding that the goal is to show students “that their voices really do matter.”

“We cannot change their ideas of voting we can only just supply the information,” said Collings.

“The problem is that it’s up to them to want to vote.”