Landing : Athabascau University

Please share, to help Albertan students cast a ballot in Monday's election


Students wishing to vote should take picture ID and ID that connects their name to an address in their riding. Students who cannot produce this ID can ask roommates or others who know them to vouch for them at the polling station. If students are challenged on the length of residency ("where are you originally from? How long have you been living here?") they need to know that such challenges are not legitimate. Voting isn't about where you "should" live, it's about where you happen to live (even if just for this week), and about the riding you want to vote in. Insist on your right to cast a ballot.

This is my understanding of unenumerated students' voting options, as explained to my earlier today in a training meeting for polling station scrutineers. If I have any detail incorrect or if you have further explanatory information, please post a comment below.


  • Heather Clitheroe April 21, 2012 - 9:37pm

    Is that entirely right, though? I thought election law required students to vote where in the riding that they consider their permanent home:

    According to section 43 of the Election Act, an elector must vote in the polling subdivision of the electoral division in which the person is ordinarily resident on polling day.

    An elector is considered to have only one place of ordinary residence, and it is defined as "the place where the person lives and sleeps and to which, when the person is absent from it, the person intends to return". Therefore, if you temporarily live or work away from your place of ordinary residence, you must still vote in the electoral division in which you ordinarily reside.

    For example, this would apply to:

    A student from Red Deer attending university in Victoria and living in residence there, who ordinarily lives "at home" (spends holidays with the family and intends to return to Red Deer after the program of study is completed). The student would be eligible to vote in Red Deer.

    A construction worker from Edmonton working in Fort McMurray and living in temporary accommodations (a motel or apartment) who ordinarily resides with his family in Edmonton. The worker would be eligible to vote in Edmonton. (

    So technically, a student living in residence but going home after the school year should be voting in their home riding, right?

  • Mark A. McCutcheon April 22, 2012 - 2:26am

    Thanks for asking these questions in the interest of clarification. As I understand them, the meanings of both "ordinary" and "temporary" are sufficiently open to interpretation as to allow the student to cast one's ballot on election day in the riding where one happens then to reside. The information here is categorically not provided to suggest any loopholes through which a student may cast more than one ballot - but rather to inform a student of how to exercise one's democratic right without undue interference on election day.

    For more about the ordinary versus temporary distinction and its enforcement in Alberta electoral law, the Council of Alberta University Students advises as follows (at a link whose security is dubious, so I'm copying the text here instead):

    Advance polls are already open and the first ballots are being cast in the Alberta provincial election, but not everybody is going to get the chance to vote. Post-secondary students are singled out by Alberta’s Elections Act as being required to vote where their family lives rather than in the community where they are a student.

    “It’s appalling to see people turned away from voting because of a law that seems to treat students as children rather than adults,” said Zack Moline, U of L SU President and chair of the Council of Alberta University Students (CAUS). “Students should not be forced to forego their right to vote just because they moved to go to school.”

    University of Lethbridge student Storm Lafferty was turned away from an advance poll on April 20 in the constituency of Lethbridge-West. “I went in to get my ballot and they told me I don’t live here. I’ve lived here since September and just want to vote like everyone else in Lethbridge,” said Lafferty.

    CAUS has been calling for Alberta to update its election laws since 2008 to make it easier for students to vote. Alberta is the only province other than Nova Scotia that does not allow students to choose to vote in the constituency they are studying in.

    “It’s really disappointing to see this again this election. Students have met with government since 2009 on this issue to ensure no students were unfairly disenfranchised. We are going to continue to push for changes to the Elections Act after April 23 to ensure this is resolved before 2016,” said Moline.

    For more information contact:
    Duncan Wojtaszek, Executive Director
    cell: 780-297-4531