With the federal vote approaching, people from all over Canada will be hitting the polls. One demographic that seems to have the lowest turnout rates but the most eligible voters in Canada? Young people.
Some youth voters take politics seriously. Researching candidates in today’s social media age can be as easy as looking at a phone.
Sierra Brooks, a student at Conestoga College, said she just checks social media for information on candidates since most of the people she follows are politically related.
In the 2015 election, voters who are 18-24 years old had a 57.1 per cent turnout rate. While this number is starting to grow, this is still the lowest of all age groups, with the highest being 65-74 year olds with 78.8 per cent. Currently there are just over 9.5 million potential voters in the age range of 18-34 years of age, according to Statistics Canada.
There is a history of young people having the lowest rates of voting and there are many possible reasons for this.
“They probably feel statistically meaningless and like they won’t make a difference,” said Kelsey Gibson, Conestoga College student.
Brooks also thinks that young people don’t take voting as serious as they should. “They have no inspiration, they have no interest or they don’t think that it will matter when it does,” said Brooks.
Young voter Liam Scorgie, 22, shares the same opinion.
“They don’t take it as seriously as they should. It’s definitely not even close,” said Scorgie.
The young voter is an important asset to have because they can easily swing an election. Some politicians are taking the initiative to try and capture the youth vote and appeal to a younger audience and give them a reason to vote. New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh said he “can change the economy rigged against young people.”
The current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is offering a 10 per cent first time home buyer incentive if re-elected.
“Many young Canadians dream of owning their first home. But with rising prices – and not enough homes to meet the demand – it’s getting harder and harder to make that dream a reality,” said Trudeau.
There are also many initiatives to increase participation from young voters. Programs like the Get Out The Vote campaign are hitting college campuses all around Canada. They are educating students on their right to vote and collecting pledges for the upcoming election.
On their website, they stated that during the 2015 federal election they managed to get 42,000 students to pledge to vote. Future Majority, another program targeted towards young voters said they will be setting up polling stations at colleges and universities across Canada so students can vote while at school.
Voting is a right all Canadian citizens have. Every person gets a chance to have their voices heard and see the representation they want in office.
“We could impact what happens a lot, but we don’t realize it is our future,” said Scorgie.