Should there be a special poll at McMaster?

The short answer?

If money grew on trees, yes.

In the fiscal reality of reality, no.

McMaster Students Union vice-president Joe Finkle is angry, he wants a poll and believes the city is discouraging students from voting next Monday in the municipal election. The strategy of blaming the city for removing the poll, instead of looking at the fact that it costs thousands of dollars, is misguided and diminishing the respect of the student union in the community.

It’s 300 metres to the nearest polling location. Clearly, if only 10 students voted last time, the issue of disengagement is greater than the location of the polling location.

I’m hopeful that the anger the MSU is unleashing against the City and its staff (especially Tony Fallis who is the sole full-time civil servant running this election and doing a superior job under great pressure) is merely a tactic to mobilize students against the “outsider” and bring them out to the polls.

In terms of the argument that the MSU offered incentives to the City in exchange for locating a poll in the residences of McMaster, it is flawed. The MSU is a lobbying organization and its a dangerous slope to allow lobbying groups to pay for polling locations in places that are convenient to their voting bloc.

For the City to create a special polling location in response to a request from a lobbying organization would bring disrepute upon the electoral process.

The MSU would be better served by informing its student body of where and why to vote.

Of course, huffing and puffing could be nothing more than hedging the MSU’s bets if student voter turnout remains low. Instead of asking the hard questions of why they were unable to mobilize, they can just blame the City.

For my thoughts on student voter turnout and why its important for students to vote, please read my GlobeCampus post from December of last year “Students: vote or face the consequences.”