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July 26, 2012
Contrary to what is projected by the Director General of Elections in Quebec (DGEQ), the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec (FECQ) and the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (FEUQ) think that changes to electoral law are ill-conceived and they do not ensure that it will be easier for students to vote than in 2008, since those who leave their homes temporarily during the time of their studies will not be able to vote at their schools.
“The Liberal government has refused to put voting booths in CEGEPs and universities. It is now refusing to allow students to vote in the district of their schools and it has proposing instead a new rule with little bearing on the reality of life for students. One has to ask if it is not doing everything in its power to hinder students from voting in ‘student ridings’ such as Sherbrooke, out of fear losing the next elections,” wonder Éliane Laberge, president of FECQ, and Yanick Grégoire, executive vice-president of FEUQ.
Students affected by these recent modifications will have no choice but to vote via the new process for voters residing outside their electoral district. Effectively, between 10 and 4 days before the election these voters will have to go before a scrutineer in a polling station in the riding where they are temporarily residing, and they will have to go through a more complex administrative process. So says the judicial advisory clinic Juripop in response to a request for advice made by FECQ.
FECQ and FEUQ recommend creating offices on CEGEP and university campuses to handle people who wish to vote outside their ridings.
To remedy the situation and to really enable the youth vote in the next elections, FECQ and FEUQ suggest creating offices on CEGEP and university campuses to handle people who wish to vote outside their ridings. [Doing so would be] “a first step to really enable young people to vote by reaching out to them right in their own environment,” affirms Laberge. ”Senior citizens are enabled to vote to by having voting stations in old folks’ homes and workers are enabled by being given four hours to go to a polling station. These are real steps to grant people access to voting and we support them. Now, if the Liberals are not afraid of the student vote, it is time for them to put their money where their mouth is and take a step to give everyone access to voting,” adds Grégoire.
This morning, this suggestion was sent by registered mail to the DGEQ and to the province’s political parties.
Lastly, FECQ and FEUQ encourage all students who have changed address in the last year to complete a change of address so as to be able to vote in the district they consider their home. This has to be done before the election call because at the moment the election is called, the lists are frozen and it becomes more complex to have the information updated. To change an address after this time, a person has to appear before a revision committee that doesn’t always accommodate a student’s availability.
The letter, as well as the judicial opinion above, will be online at the campaign page of FECQ and FEUQ: http://www.1625canepassepas.ca
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
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