April 12, 2019 7:53 pm

College and university students could play vital role in Lethbridge ridings

We're only days away from learning who will make up Alberta's next government. Polls indicate both Lethbridge ridings could come down to the wire, and post-secondary students could be the key to a win or loss in both races. Kyle Benning explains.

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Thousands of post-secondary students in Lethbridge have a decision to make this election season.

If they live somewhere else in Alberta, but are taking courses in Lethbridge, they’re eligible to vote in either riding.

In races that are as close as Lethbridge-West and Lethbridge-East, those votes could make all the difference.

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“About a third of the university students are from the Calgary area. A lot of ridings in Calgary are close. So they have a choice as to where they want to make a difference,” said University of Lethbridge political science professor Geoffrey Hale.

READ MORE: Lethbridge rally held to support GSAs, oppose UCP education plan

The University of Lethbridge said as of Dec. 1, there were 5,049 students taking classes on the Lethbridge campus who were from a different part of the province.

Across town at Lethbridge College, there are 2,168 students who could vote in a Lethbridge riding or their home riding.

Hale said young voters generally sit left of centre, which could be a boost to the local NDP and Alberta Liberal campaigns.

READ MORE: Advance polls in Lethbridge see thousands of ballots cast on Day 1

He added social media can also play a large part in drawing out the youth vote.

“Certainly, it can reinforce existing attitudes. It can motivate people to turn out. However, if you overreach, it can backfire on you,” he said.

However, which riding students decide to cast a vote in won’t be clear until after election day.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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