EDITORIAL: Voter apathy for IGNITE election is embarrassing

by | Mar 10, 2017 | Editorial, Opinion

In order for any government to work, whether it be a school or the federal government, significant voter turnout is vital.

Here at Humber College, we annually have an under 25 per cent voter participation rate for IGNITE elections; indeed, it’s typically below 20 per cent. That’s really embarrassing. It’s not like there aren’t a gazillion posters around the school making us aware that there is an election in a week. No, it seems that the vast majority of people at Humber aren’t even fully aware that there is an election.

Think about this: less than a quarter of Humber students even care about the election. And considering that there are some 13 candidates running for vice-presidential roles alone, all one candidate needs is their friends to show up and they win. Automatically that means that only a tiny minority of the student population will be represented. Again, it’s not like this is a one off, it is a regular occurrence.

The significance of voting in any election stretches far beyond personal responsibility. There is a direct correlation between participation and representation. If less students vote, then in turn their interests are not going to be represented in their student government. However, the more people that vote, the more the government will represent a larger group of people.

It really is that simple.

After all, IGNITE is a beast when it comes to funding. In fact, their annual budget this past year was $10,325,000. Look at that again: it’s over $10-million. And all of that is from our tuition money. That money is being used for services such as financial and legal counseling and health insurance, as well as social events like Frosh. Maybe these particular things don’t matter to you, but that is just a snapshot of what IGNITE offers. Even if nothing that IGNITE does that matters to you, it certainly affects someone else’s time at Humber, which is simply unfair. No one should have less of a service that is essential to them simply because students didn’t take the time to educate themselves.

One thing that students have been telling Humber Et Cetera is that they have been too busy with classes to really pay attention to IGNITE’s election. Especially, they feel that there is too much to vote for and are often confused as to who is actually running. That’s a fair point. IGNITE has to do a much better job at being transparent in its dealings and making sure students are aware of important events. There is no sugar-coating that in order to engage with voters you need to literally engage with them. Posters won’t cut it. However, just because candidates are failing on their end to captivate the student base, doesn’t mean that students should just ignore them.

It is the responsibility of every student, as it is with every citizen of the province or country, to research each candidate and their positions by themselves and vote according to their beleifs. There has never been a candidate who people can simply rely on to get them interested. That’s all on us.

If you don’t care about what IGNITE does, then you are essentially throwing your money away, plain and simple.