Student Voting Guide: Edmonton Municipal Election 2021
With advance polls already underway, Edmonton is on the verge of electing a new city council. In an interview with Christian Fotang, vice-president of the Union of Students (external), Gateway examined when, where, how and why students should go out and vote in the next municipal election.
Who has the right to vote?
You can vote in the Edmonton election if you are at least 18 years old, a Canadian citizen and reside in Edmonton on polling day.
Who and what do students vote for?
- A mayor
- A councilor for their neighborhood
- Select up to three Senate candidates who can be appointed to the Senate of Canada to represent Alberta
- Elect an Edmonton Catholic school trustee for their ward or an Edmonton public school trustee
- Answer two referendum questions:
- Should subsection 36 (2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 – the commitment of the Parliament and the Government of Canada to the principle of equalization payments – be deleted from the Constitution?
- Do you want Alberta to adopt daylight saving time all year round, which is daylight saving time, eliminating the need to change our clocks twice a year?
When can students vote?
Advance polling takes place from October 4 to 13 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Students can also vote on October 18, election day, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Where can students vote?
While October 5 was the last day to vote on campus, there are polling stations nearby for students who live in the Campus Nord or Campus Saint-Jean sector.
- North Campus (Ward papastew): Advance voting at the Hazeldean Community League. Voting on Election Day at Garneau School
- Campus Saint-Jean (Métis district): Advance polling at the Bellevue Community League. Vote on Election Day at Maurice Lavallée School
Both campuses are within walking distance of their respective polling stations on election day.
What should students bring to their polling station?
Voters will need to show government ID or official document that can confirm your name and current residential address. The following pieces of identification are valid:
- Alberta driver’s license or identification card
- A bank or credit card statement
- An income tax or property tax assessment notice
- An insurance policy or coverage card
- A statement of government benefits
If voters are not using their Alberta driver’s license or ID card, they will need to bring two pieces of ID.
Accessible voting information:
If voters need more information, it is available by phone (780-443-8683), online and in print, and in other formats upon request. Plus, closed captioning and American Sign Language are available in all Edmonton election videos. Voting instructions are also available in other languages including Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog .
Why should students vote?
“I would say that municipal elections have the most impact on our day-to-day lives than any other level of government, despite the federal and provincial governments’ link to tuition fees, student financial aid and the rising cost of education, ”Fotang explained.
“It is also important to reflect on the direction our city is taking and the brain drain that is happening in our province,” he said. Fotang mentioned how “people are leaving our cities” and that these municipal elections are a chance to vote for candidates who have a plan not only to improve our city, but to make it welcoming to young people and students.
“I always say that you are probably more likely to have influence on your mayor or your city councilor than on your prime minister or your prime minister,” he explained. “Local government is where voters can have a more direct impact on the outcome of a lot of things.” According to Fotang, the more attention students pay to city politics, the more capacity they will have to influence important decisions.
Despite the low turnout and voter fatigue, Fotang expressed hope that students will fulfill their civic duty and exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election in Edmonton.