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On the day of the 2019 federal election, young people make up a larger block of voters than ever before
It’s finally the day of the federal election and Ryerson students are speaking their minds and exercising their right to vote in what polls have shown to be a close race between the Liberals and Conservatives.
For second-year journalism student Kashish Hura, an international student from India, the ability to vote in an election is a privilege. As an international student, Hura is not eligible to vote in Canada, so she did a private ceremony casting her own mock ballot in an Ikea box she had at home.
“I still do care about democracy a lot… I closed my eyes and said, ‘Yeah, I voted,’” said Hura.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who is a Sikh, has made a big personal impact on Hura. “I’m a Sikh as well. I think that Jagmeet… where he comes from, it’s a very complex background. He has seen a lot and he has been through a lot. Being a lawyer, he has a very elaborate understanding of what people go through. I feel great that somebody like that is running to be prime minister,” she said.
Hung Le, an FCAD student representative on the RSU board of directors, said he thinks students know the power is in their hands for this year’s election.
“I know for a fact that the millennials, by far, are the largest voting block this year. If every millennial was able to go out and vote we’d probably have by far the largest impact. It’s our year. As millennials we have to go out and vote,” he said.
Le said he feels the two issues that students have voiced the most concern about are climate change and cuts to education.
“The climate is rapidly deteriorating. I’d personally like to see some action in regards to that. The second thing is considering the budget cuts in our province in general to education. I want to see the newly elected federal party [consider] what they can do about that,” Le said.
Nicole Brayiannis, president of the Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson, said students have definitely turned out for advance polls on campus.
“We had our on-campus polling stations a couple weeks ago,” Brayiannis said. “At the previous federal elections on-campus we saw about 1,400 students come out to vote, and this time we saw almost 2,300 students come out to vote. It’s amazing. I think they definitely feel the need, especially with the cuts to education following the provincial election.”
Polls will be open for people to cast their ballots for 12 hours across the country. In Ontario, the hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Voters will need to bring one piece of identification, like a driver’s licence or any other card issued by the Canadian government that includes a photo, name and current address.