Student voting marked absent

Between the chaos of online classes the pandemic and now a snap election student voting may take a hit

Artwork by Max Leckie
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By Jacob Van Luven

The B.C. provincial government could see a drop in student voting, due to the stress and anxiety surrounding voting during a global pandemic.

A snap election was called in the middle of an academic semester, and amid total uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many students, this is the first semester of online learning. The stress of trying to learn in a completely new approach, as well as studying for upcoming midterms could be deterrent enough for students to choose not to vote.

Students are also experiencing higher levels of stress. A study from Chegg.org found that 58 percent of college students surveyed were “moderately”, “very” or “extremely” worried about their own mental health.

The same study also found that one in five students are experiencing more financial pressure since the start of the pandemic. Financial barriers translate into lower voter turnout, as the B.C. government found that people with a higher unemployment rate and a lower median income are less likely to vote.

The percent of young people voting has risen over the last two provincial elections, but this trend could come to an end due to the constraints of school work and a provincial mandate asking students to stay home.  Mail-in balloting is increasing in  popularity this election but it is still unlikely to draw an increased number of voters, strictly due to the abruptness of this election.

Not all post secondary institutions are providing the U-pass that many students relied on to travel. Many of whom will need to take an increasingly, risky transit system. Students are going to have to leave their homes and schoolwork and head to the polls on Oct. 24, 2020. At the same time, everyone is advised to remain in their homes as much as possible due to the COVID-19 restrictions, making going out to vote a difficult proposition.

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