Voter turnout up, marginally; students still don't care
By Anton Vidgen
The municipal election that took place Monday recorded a slightly higher voter turnout than the previous one, though few Western students were seen marking a ballot on campus on voting day.
According to City Clerk Kevin Bain, the recent election saw a participation rate of 35.92 per cent compared with 32.75 per cent in the 2000 election. Calling it a "marginal increase," Bain nonetheless said city staff and volunteers did an "outstanding job" on election day.
Here on campus, University Students' Council President Paul Yeoman said his organization made inroads in promoting the election, at least more so than in the 2000 municipal election. "I think we did a good job of promoting elections this year," he said.
"The USC did make strong efforts to promote the municipal election," he said.
This year, Western saw two of its own students run and lose in the election. Josh Morgan, who is a current political science graduate student, was running in Ward 1 to be a city councillor. First-year law student Dave Forestell campaigned hard for a spot as the public school board trustee for Wards 1 and 7.
"I don't blame students as much as I do blame the university for not allowing candidates access to students, particularly in residences," Forestell said.
"To me, the question would be, ‘why would [students] vote'?" said political science professor Andrew Sancton. "If they were lifelong residents of London and they were expecting to stay, it would make more sense for them to vote.
"The bus pass or the state of ‘Richmond Row' might concern them, but they wouldn't be concerned with larger issues," Sancton said. "There's a lot more things for students to worry about than who's going to be their ward's councilor."
Third-year science student Lesley Mok echoed Sancton's remarks. "I found a lot of things [the candidates] talked about didn't really apply to the students."