Getting their attention: Youth voting on the rise

By Justin Garnhum

Oct. 16, 2015

Nineteen-year-old Cody Burke is about to vote for his first time. He favours the Liberal party, but is unsure how he will vote come election day.

“When I go to vote, I’ll probably choose Liberal, but I may change my mind when I get there.”

“I’ve usually followed the Liberals when people talk about politics.”

Twenty-year-old Zackery Roy believes every vote counts.

“No one knows the power of one vote it could change Canada for better or worse.”

In 2011, the 41st federal election, 38.8 per cent of eligible 18 to 24-year-olds voted.

Roy said everyone should vote.

“Every vote counts and it’s in our rights as a Canadian citizen to better our nation.”

Briana Allen, a Charlottetown Rural student, said she doesn’t understand politics, partly because no one has explained in detail about how it works.

“People my age don’t know how politics work very well. They just know one side needs votes to get as many seats as possible.

“A lot of first-time voters will vote the same as their parents because they have no idea what each party is offering to do and if it applies to them.”

She would like to see the younger generations better educated on politics.

“Young voters are going to need to know what politicians do as they get older, if not, the outcome won’t be very good.”

Less than a week before Canada heads to the polls, 2.4 million Canadians voted in advanced polls.

Elections Canada said the number of voters exceeded their expectations. Complaints of long line-ups and wait times of over an hour long have been making headlines across the country.

This is the first time pop-up returning offices have been set-up on campuses with 29 college and university campuses participating in the pilot project.

According to Canada’s chief electoral officer, more than 42,000 students have voted in the first three days the polling stations were on campuses

Both Burke and Roy said they would like to see polling stations implemented on campuses across the country.

“Lots of students may not even be from the city where they go to school,” said Burke.

“This will give students an easier option to cast their ballot then having to worry about traveling home to vote if it was possible.”