Ninu Forrest and Janet Lawson

Election 2014: Go Vote Saanich campaign targets voter apathy

Go Vote Saanich, launched by Saanich Youth Council, aims to increase dismal 25 per cent turnout from 2011 local election

Four members of the Saanich Youth Council are hoping a new campaign will improve voter turnout at the upcoming municipal election.

Go Vote Saanich is a non-partisan campaign with the sole purpose of increasing voter turnout in Saanich. The organizers, all in their early 20s, point out only 25 per cent of eligible Saanichites voted in the 2011 municipal election.

“We just want to get more people excited about the election,” says Go Vote Saanich campaign co-ordinator Janet Lawson, also a Saanich Youth Council member.

“We had talked about it back in the spring, that we wanted to do something for this election,” she said.

Lawson, 22, is a Camosun College student in the sport and fitness leadership program, though she previously studied political science at the University of B.C.

She’ll actually vote in View Royal (Saanich Youth Council demands its members either live, work or play in Saanich), though the Go Vote campaign isn’t strictly for Saanich residents.

Voter turnout in 2011 in Saanich was also below the 30 per cent average across B.C.

Which is why Lawson and company are sharing the logo and campaign strategy with the City of Victoria Youth Council and the Esquimalt Residents Association, she said.

“The campaign is based on getting the word out through local businesses. We have Maude Hunter’s pub on board with our Go Vote Saanich beer coasters and Township Coffee on board, serving coffee cups with the Go Vote Saanich logo on it. And more businesses are coming each day, the response is positive.”

While still in the hundreds of followers, the group’s Facebook site is picking up steam. It’s already one of the best spots to find the dates for all-candidate meetings. And Go Vote Saanich’s Cortney Fraser is editing video from a recent all-candidates meeting, soon to be posted, with a hope of adding more videos before the election.

“Go Vote Saanich is youth driven but it’s also to get anyone out.”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Did you know?

  • The UVic Students’ Society is hosting its first-ever advance poll for Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria residents. Eligible voters can cast ballots on Thursday, Nov. 6, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Michele Pujol Room of the Student Union Building.
  • Only 25 per cent of Saanich’s 84,546 eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2011 municipal election.