A political panel planned for Oct. 7 will go beyond the soundbites and help students sift through the messaging around the upcoming federal election.
“We’re not trying to tell students or citizens how to vote but we’re giving them the tools they need to make an informed decision,” said Assistant Professor of Political Science Stefan Dolgert.
He said Election 2015: Informing Your Vote will be an in-depth discussion of the issues at play when voters go to the polls Oct. 19.
“Each of the speakers will be bringing to bear some political science research,” he said.
Livianna Tossutti, Matthew Hennigar, Sanjay Jeram and Zachary Spicer – all from the Department of Political Science – will discuss democratic institutions, citizenship, cities and economic issues affecting Niagara.
“We will offer an objective perspective on what we know to be true,” Jeram said.
He said while politicians claim data to be the truth, the facts don’t always support their assertions.
“We want to provide some knowledge base about the bombardment of messages, to help them sift through the vast amount of information out there,” Spicer said, adding the panel will also fill some of the gaps in the discussion.
Dolgert said one thing research does prove to be true is that negative campaigning works.
“There’s a lot about that type of advertising that is effective,” he said. “It’s ugly but research shows it can shift people to their side.”
The panel is aimed at informing students and encouraging them to vote.
“They are the group of voters who vote the least,” Spicer said. “There are a lot of issues relevant to them that I’d like to see them take more interest in.”
Jeram hopes the discussion, which will include plenty of time for questions, will ignite an interest in students to get involved.
“To get people to care is important. We might be grooming a future advocate or we might just be getting them to vote,” he said.
Dolgert said the more people engaged in the democratic process, the better the system works.
“You get better decisions when more people participate,” he said.
Election 2015: Informing Your Vote
Wednesday, Oct. 7