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August Executive Blog – Get out the Vote!

2019 is a big year for politics in Canada, and I’m going sway a little bit from the usual type of executive post we ussually make to chat about democracy and the 2019 Canadian federal election.

AUSU is a proud member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA). Just as we did during the 2015 federal election, this year we will be running a campaign in partnership with CASA called Get Out the Vote (GOTV)!

In preparation, your AUSU execs headed down to Calgary last week for a CASA conference. It was an opportunity to meet up with other student executives from across Western Canada to plan our activities and events for the Get out the Vote campaign. It’s going to be really awesome!

AUSU will we be holding a couple of contests during the Get out the Vote campaign with some great prizes (stay tuned!). We will also be holding some in-person events, releasing a podcast and YouTube video where we chat with student voters, and collaborating with other students’ unions to promote the vote!

The campaign sounds exciting (and it is!), but I want to take a minute to talk about the core of this initiative: democracy. This is what we are truly interested in here, not the individual politicians or parties. We want students to get out their vote and help represent the collective voice of students across our nation. But can students really make a difference?

In 2015, students made up one of the largest voting blocs in Canada. Two million student voters hit the polls, and the student vote largely decided the outcome of the federal election. This turnout is HUGE and goes to show how powerful our collective voice can be.

Democracy is important to me personally because I want to see more equity in all facets of our society. I think that the more people vote and become engaged with politics and public policy in the country, the more the actions of the government are representative of the total population. I also acknowledge that, as a woman, the vote has not historically always been available to me. When democracy was first developed in Athens around 2500 years ago, it was only extended to free men. In Canada, women did not receive the right to vote until 1916. It’s only been 103 years! There are so many more reasons I’m interested in democracy and promoting the vote, and I’m sure you have yours too.

This year on September 15, Democracy Day, we will be launching our Get Out the Vote campaign. Keep your eyes peeled for it! I am looking forward to engaging with you, and hope we can meet our pledge goal of 2000 Athabasca University undergraduate students, from every province and territory in Canada.

Let me know why you will vote this year at [email protected], and it may just make it into the AUSU Open Mic Podcast or a YouTube video!

Get out there on October 21, 2019, and VOTE!

Natasha Donahue
AUSU VP External and Student Affairs