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Courting the youth vote

BY BRETT BULLOCK

 People often say that the younger generation doesn’t vote, but that might be changing. In 2015, Canada saw the highest number of youth voters in over a decade. Election data show that for 18-24 year olds the voter turnout was up 18.3 per cent from 2011. There was also a significant increase in first-time voters, 17.7 per cent.

This increase in voter turnout could have occurred for a number of reasons. Abacus Data show the Liberals greatly benefited from the turnout of younger voters. For voters aged 18-25, about 45% voted for the Liberal party of Canada, the New Democrat Party came in second at 25%, and the Conservatives came third at 20%. Ignoring the younger audience isn’t something the NDP or the Conservatives can afford to do again.

When this year’s election campaign started, politicians wasted no time in attempting to court younger voters. They have been tackling issues they care about such as housing affordability, childcare, education and the environment. Andrew Niven is a recent graduate from Carleton University. He understands the importance of voting and says, “If they’re entering the work force, buying a house, or starting a family these are issues you can effect with your vote.” 

However, there still remains an interesting conundrum. Even though 18-34 year olds are now the largest voting block, many young Canadians still don’t get out and exercise their democratic right. This election will show whether or not the number of young voters will continue to rise or fall short of 2015.

“If you don’t vote, you can’t complain when your guy doesn’t win.”

Current polls suggest that the Liberals and Tories are in a dead heat with both parties polling around 34%. With the numbers this close, it’s clear that every vote really does make a difference.

Sean Delacourt has a high school diploma and currently works full time in the trades. He says, “If you don’t vote, you can’t complain when your guy doesn’t win. It’s also our responsibility as citizens to partake in our democracy and inform ourselves on the issues.” 

It doesn’t take long to vote and you’ll be making an important contribution. Don’t know how? You can find out here.

Written by
Brett Bullock
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