DSU elections are this week. Two words for you: go vote.
It’s really something that needn’t be said, but numbers don’t lie. Based on figures from the DSU, voter turnout for the last six years has been approximately 4, 6, 13, 4, 14, and 7 per cent. Abysmally low figures. I’ll save the broken record speech about democracy being a privilege.
Honestly, I completely understand students who don’t vote. Not that that makes it acceptable. I never voted in my three years as a student here… and it’s a source of constant regret. My excuses had always been that I didn’t know the candidates, or that they likely all had the same goals—after all, this is just college and we all want a better experience, don’t we? The former is a shameful answer as a hack of a journalist; spend 15 minutes researching and you’ll have a far greater understanding. The latter is also weak. Our federal parties all supposedly exist for the betterment of the country but have vastly different platforms. Why should that be any different at the college level?
It’s not the embarrassment that gets to me (though that definitely exists), rather, the realization that your vote truly makes a difference. We constantly hear during federal elections how every vote counts, but when some 17 million other people are casting their ballots as well, it’s easy to lose sight of the value of individual parts comprising the whole.
Douglas isn’t like that. It’s not a massive college by any means. Case in point, only 782 students voted last year. Seven hundred eighty-two. Doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that you’re far more influential in a Douglas election than a federal one.
The DSU is there to represent the students. If you want change, do something about it. Take a few minutes and figure out who has your best interests at heart.
If you need real motivation, consider this: each student pays between $50 and $60 to the DSU. In an election with 100 per cent voter turnout, that means each student is representing (on the low end for simplicity’s sake) $50. In an election with 5 per cent turnout, that means each student is representing $1000—all for taking two minutes to drop a slip in a ballot box. In a society where the main gripe about post-secondary centres on money, it should come as some amusement that so many blindly ignore that which is right under their noses.
And just for good measure, some encouragement from your college president, Dr. Kathy Denton: “The DSU election is an opportunity for students to take responsibility to contribute to the democratic process and exercise their right to vote. College is a place where students are exposed to new ideas and are challenged to develop their own views of the world. An election is a time to express their views. I encourage all students to participate in their community by voting in the DSU election for whomever best represents their ideals for an independent student society in the coming year.”