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Canadian students fill out registration forms for voting in Canada's national elections while watching the debate Credit: Alexandra Fleischman

Voting in the Canadian federal elections is not just a matter of pride for Canadian students at Penn.

Canadian students came together to register to vote in the May 2 federal elections Saturday afternoon in an effort organized by Canadians at Penn.

The student voters were provided with foreign registration forms and were helped by Canadians at Penn members to fax their identification information to Ottawa. In the next week, the now-registered voters will receive Special Ballot voting kits to vote before May 2nd.

Despite the complicated procedure, the organizers found it worthwhile. “We are trying to increase the youth turnout rate, because of those under 25 years old, the turnout is less than 40%,” College sophomore and Canadians at Penn Minister of Finance Michel Breau said. “There is a general agreement among election specialists that if youth turned out to vote as much as the average population, the results would be drastically different,” he added.

“People at this age group are pretty apathetic,” College junior Andrea Cheung and Canadians at Penn Minister of Public Works and Government Services said. “But we want them to be able to voice their opinion,” she added.

In a room in Huntsman Hall, students watched a debate between the four principal party leaders that was originally broadcast on April 12th and discussed the political situation in Canada.

For some, this was an opportunity to represent Canada for the first time. “For these elections, I’m eligible to vote as a Canadian, so I thought I’d take the opportunity,” first-time Canadian voter and College sophomore Chris Shimamoto said.

For others, it was a chance to reconnect with home. “Especially here at Penn, you’re very disconnected from things at Canada. It’s very hard for internationals to keep up with what’s been happening in their home countries,”

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