Closest place to vote in election four kilometres away

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

According to Elections B.C.'s plan, the closest polling station to TRU (A) will be 3.8 km away at Dufferin Elementary (B). - Image by Devan C. Tasa

According to Elections B.C.’s plan, the closest polling station to TRU (A) will be 3.8 km away at Dufferin Elementary (B). – Image by Devan C. Tasa

TRU students and staff will have to go off campus to vote in the May 14, 2013 provincial election, according to plans from Elections B.C.

The polling station closest to the university would be located at Dufferin Elementary School, approximately four kilometres southwest of the university, wrote Doug Gibson, the electoral district officer for Kamloops – South Thompson, via email.

“For a variety of reasons, polling stations consist of a number of voting areas and we try our best to locate the polling station centrally within the voting areas,” he wrote.

This plan does not mesh well with a lobbying effort by TRUSU that began in May 2012 advocating for a place to vote on campus both during and before election day.

The students union will continue to talk with Elections B.C. in January 2013 in an effort to have a polling station on campus, Dylan Robinson, TRUSU’s vice-president external, wrote in an email.

When asked in an interview if the students’ union had looked at trying to get support from the local branches of the B.C. Liberals and New Democrats in their lobbying effort, Robinson said that was something that hasn’t been considered.

“If it’s something that will get the ball rolling on this polling station, I’ll definitely investigate every option that’s available to make that happen,” he said.

While the political parties have no say in where a polling station is located, they are in constant contact with the electoral district officer in the lead-up to the election.

The effort to get a polling station on campus is part of the students union’s Vote Education campaign, a non-partisan effort to register students to vote and educate them about the post-secondary education issue.

To inform students about the upcoming vote, Elections B.C. is planning to hold an information and registration booth at the university for two days sometime in March, Gibson wrote.

“The students and staff would be able to receive information about the election and also would have an opportunity to register as a voter if they are eligible,” he wrote.

Robinson was pleased to hear about the booth.

“Voter registration and voter education is a big aspect of the Vote Education campaign, so any effort by Elections B.C. to supplement our own voter registration efforts is really awesome and I’m really excited about that,” he said.

As for the future activities of the campaign, Robinson expects to make announcements in the new year as the political parties ramp up their campaigns and more students become aware of the election.

“I think once that starts happening, it’ll be full steam ahead for Vote Education,” he said. “It’ll be a pretty exciting time around here.”