Elections B.C. hoping to reach out to students

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

Kamloops - South Thompson includes TRU's campus and all of Kamloops south of the river. - Image courtesy of Elections B.C.

Kamloops – South Thompson includes TRU’s campus and all of Kamloops south of the river. – Image courtesy of Elections B.C.

The next provincial election is only five months away and Elections B.C. wants students to get involved. The election will be held on May 14.

“We are endeavouring to reach out to students – and Aboriginal communities too – within our riding,” said Doug Gibson, the district electoral officer for Kamloops – South Thompson, which contains TRU.

One of the ways Elections B.C. plans to do that is by holding registration and information tables in high-traffic locations across the riding. TRU will be one of those locations.

“We’ve proposed two registration and information sessions here at TRU,” Gibson said. “This will give students and staff an opportunity to ask any questions about the upcoming election and as well, if they are eligible to vote, they can register to vote at that time, no matter where they happen to live.”

To be eligible to register, one must be a Canadian citizen, be over 18-years-old and have lived in B.C. for the last six months.

The plan is to have one table at residence on March 12 and another in the Campus Activity Centre on March 13 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Students can also get involved in the election in a more direct way.

“The information tables will also have opportunities for students should they wish to get employed for the election to find out more information,” Gibson said. “We’ll be hiring around 450 people for the election. There’s certainly opportunities for anyone of legal age to get employed at least for voting day and perhaps for the advance polling stations.”

But those TRU students wanting to vote will have to go either to Dufferin Elementary or the Beattie School of the Arts on election day. Those voting in advance polls on May 8 to 11 will have to go to Valleyview Secondary or St. Paul’s Cathedral.

“We weren’t proposing to have a voting station here because it’s very expensive to set up a one-off with a limited budget,” Gibson said. “What we have to do is choose central locations to a number of voting areas and establish a central voting place.”

The area that Dufferin Elementary would be central to includes the southwest portion of Kamloops and rural areas west of the city.

TRUSU has been lobbying Elections B.C. to have a polling station on campus. Gibson said there has been some communication between himself and the students union.

In order to vote, one must bring two pieces of identification. One must be a picture ID, while the second must have one’s current address. The second piece could include a utility bill with an address or the voting card that’s sent to registered voters through the mail.

If one is from outside Kamloops and would like to vote for somebody from his or her hometown, that can be done, Gibson said.

“You could either do it at an advance station, you could do it at our office or on voting day itself, you could go to any one of the voting places and there will be a separate table set aside for people who aren’t necessarily in that riding but want to vote,” he said.

Gibson said he hopes students will participate in the election.

“I would certainly encourage the students to take advantage of the fact that there is going to be a registration and information table,” he said. “to take advantage of those opportunities and to register and consider voting in the upcoming election because it’s not too far away now.”