Improved process means Ontario election more friendly to students

    TORONTO, Aug. 3 /CNW/ -  This week, Elections Ontario published the
details of numerous improvements to voter identification in anticipation of
the October 10 provincial general election. Among the improvements were
recognition of post-secondary institution-issued student identification and
documents displaying college or university residence addresses as proof of
voter identification and permanent residency. Students will also be able to
use government-issued documents, including student loan agreements, to
register to vote.
    "Many students change their permanent address every year and that makes
providing official documents a challenge," said Jen Hassum, Chairperson of the
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario. "We are pleased with the improvements
to the voter identification requirements because they mean that there are now
fewer obstacles between students and the ballot box."
    During the 2003 Ontario election, many students could not access the
voting process because of confusion over interpretation of the Elections Act.
The most significant problem for students was providing proof of permanent
residency and identification that would satisfy election officials. Since
then, the Canadian Federation of Students has been meeting with Elections
Ontario to improve student and youth voter turnout by making the voting
process more clear and accessible.
    "Students and youth are an important part of this province and we plan to
make our voices heard at the polls," said Hassum. "These improvements to the
recognised forms of voter identification will be instrumental to enabling
students to exercise their right to vote."
    College and university students across Ontario are preparing for the
October 10 election by launching a province-wide awareness campaign, through
the Canadian Federation of Students. The campaign will be directed at students
and the general public and will include information on voter registration,
post-secondary education issues, and political party platforms.

For further information:

For further information: Jen Hassum, Chairperson, (416) 925-3825 or
(416) 832-9073 (cell); Jesse Greener, Campaigns and Government Relations
Coordinator, (416) 925-3825 or (416) 301-5747 (cell)

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