Getting out the campus vote early

University of Victoria and its students connect with municipalities on polling initiative

Dylan Sherlock

Dylan Sherlock

The University of Victoria and the UVic Students’ Society are joining forces in an effort to increase voter turnout at this fall’s municipal elections.

They are proposing the implementation of an advance polling station on campus which would allow students who live in Victoria, Saanich or Oak Bay to vote in the same place.

“We’re trying to get students engaged with the communities around them,” said Dylan Sherlock, director of finance and operations with the UVSS. “Right now the university and the communities are at a crossroads. UVic is becoming a world-class university, and one of the key elements of world-class universities is that they interact more with those surrounding communities.”

In addition to providing the physical space for the station, the university and Students’ Society would promote it and ensure voters know the requirements for proving their residency. The society would also provide opportunities for candidates to speak directly to students and other members of the UVic community.

Nearly 30,000 people study and work on the campus.

The proposal has support from all three municipalities, but a very tight timeline may mean it can’t be implemented in time for the Nov. 19 elections. Since the polling station would be located outside the boundaries of both Victoria and Oak Bay, those municipalities would have to pass bylaw changes allowing it to be set up.

The Local Government Act stipulates that any such changes must be made no later than eight weeks prior to the opening of nominations, which means the bylaws would have to be put into effect within the next three to four weeks.

The proposal was formally put before Oak Bay council at its Monday (July 18) meeting. While council members expressed support for the idea, they were also concerned that they did not have enough time to make the necessary changes.

“We need two meetings to pass a bylaw (amendment),” said Mayor Christopher Causton. “Aug. 8 is our next meeting, so I’m not sure how we would be able to do this in time.”

The only possible way to get the bylaw changed in time would be if council were to hold extra meetings prior to Aug. 8. However, with various councillors expected to be away at different times, achieving a quorum could be difficult.

Despite the potential roadblocks, Oak Bay Coun. Tara Ney is eager to work something out.

“I’m actually excited about this proposal,” she said. “We need to do this now, not later.”

Victoria council discussed the issue at its meeting yesterday (after the News’ deadline). Mayor Dean Fortin, who put forth the idea last month, is hopeful something can be done to make the plan a reality.

“I think it’s still possible,” he said. “It shouldn’t be that administratively difficult to make it happen.”

In Saanich, a new bylaw is not required to implement the polling station. Its proposed location is within the district boundaries, and therefore can be set by Carrie MacPhee, the district chief electoral officer. But MacPhee, who only received the proposal this week, wants to know what Oak Bay and Victoria are planning before making any decisions.

“We’ll look at (the proposal) and we’ll have to talk to our colleagues in other municipalities and find out what their plans are,” MacPhee said.

Even if the deadline is not met, Sherlock was clear this will not be a one-time proposition.

“If we fail to get this kind of polling station this year, we’ll be trying to get it for 2014,” he said.

UVic and the UVSS have discussed a similar plan with Elections B.C. and Elections Canada for future provincial and federal votes.

– with files from Kyle Slavin, Roszan Holmen

editor@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using piece made at Kennametal’s Langford site

The Greater Victoria plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A provincially appointed consultant has recommended a change to the funding formula for the VicPD that will save Esquimalt a significant amount of money. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt to save a bundle on policing costs under new formula

Provincial consultant studied funding model, resource deployment for VicPD

A rockfall closed Finlayson Arm Road and West Shore Parkway on Friday (March 5) afternoon. (Twitter/BC Transportation)
UPDATED: Malahat reopens following rockfall

Section of Trans-Canada Highway was scheduled for intermittent closures today for rock scaling work

A Victoria resident was scammed out of $1,700 after a fraudster impersonated a police officer and convinced the victim to pay a non-existent fine in Bitcoin. (Unsplash)
Fraudster impersonates Victoria police officer, steals $1,700 in Bitcoin

Phone call showed up as VicPD’s non-emergency line

The Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tsartlip First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA revealed COVID-19 outbreak

Chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA Adam Olsen apologizes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

Most Read