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July 3, 2012
In Quebec it is difficult for a group to influence the result of an election if its members are dispersed throughout the territory. It’s unimaginable, for example, for the CAQ or Quebec solidaire supporters to move en masse to a riding to make one candidate win or lose.
And yet, this is in a way something that many students can do. I’ll let the site Vote étudiant au Québec explain.
The students who live in residences or apartments close to campus are entitled to register on the electoral list of the riding where they study since their domicile is actually situated within the limits of the electoral map.
Often, these students are still registered on the electoral list of the riding where they grew up and the student vote is scattered throughout the province. This population of students have however the right to change their address according to the electoral law of Quebec Loi électorale du Québec.
“A voter who temporarily leaves his or her domicile to work or study in another electoral sector can be considered as housed in either the voting section where his or her house is found or in the voting section in which he or she will reside at the end of his or her work or studies.”
The idea would be to concentrate the student vote in several “takeable” ridings. Namely, those of Outremont, Jean-Talon, Hull and Sherbrooke.
In the case of Sherbrooke, the riding of premier Charest, the situation is as follows:
Found in the riding:
- Université de Sherbrooke: 38 000 students (including 6 268 students on unlimited general strike)
- Cégep de Sherbrooke: 6500 students (on general strike from May1st to May 3rd)
- Séminaire de Sherbrooke (collegiate level): 500 students (no strike)
For a grand total of 45 000 students.
Of course, these 45 000 students are not all against Jean Charest, and they are far from all living in a residence or apartment in the riding. And yet, when you know that the premier only won Sherbrooke with a majority of 2314 votes in 2008, you understand quickly enough the calculation that is being made by the people of Vote étudiant au Québec.
Should the liberals fear a massive student vote? For the moment, the initiative doesn’t seem to stir up a crowd. The group’s Facebook page has hardly 200 followers. We’ll see. After all, an election may be a long way off.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.