You’ve probably heard of Forbes’ annual list of 30 influential people in varying fields who happen to be under 30. The list is full of those who are innovative, and hardworking, and advancing the field that they’re in. Each year when this list comes out I always like taking a peek at their successes because, you know, goals and all that. I hope to eventually end up on a list similar to this.
But that’s not the point of this post. Sorry for the kind of misleading title, but what I really want to talk to you guys about is voting. Ha, sorry, who can even say that they saw that coming?
While the statistic isn’t actually under 30 yet (again, sorry for the mislead, I was really trying to make some kind of pun regarding the Forbes’ list), the numbers reported by Elections Canada for the 2011 election showed that the youth (18 – 24) voter turnout rate was 38.8%, and in the 2008 GE it was 37.4%. These are both down from the 43.8% youth turnout rate in the 2006 federal election, and I would say that it’s safe to say that these numbers are in danger of dropping in future elections, say the one coming up in October.
Okay now a more accurate post title would probably have been ‘Don’t be a 38.8 Under 24 (but Above 18)’ but it wasn’t quite as catchy.
Why does this matter? Well if you’re actually wondering why you should care that almost 2/3 of the youth demographic doesn’t vote, then I would cite your apathy towards the electoral process as a symptom of the overall problem. But I’m a political science student and I’m kind of a nerd. Basically, we (the youth) aren’t seeing voting as a civic duty anymore, or at least an effective civic duty. But that’s bullshit. Sorry mom.
Let’s say you ‘don’t do politics’ and you really just maybe, sorta, have a mild interest in things that affect you. Let’s call that thing caps on tuition increases, as in you think that there should be a limit to how much tuition can be raised each year. Generally political parties will commit to policies in the interest of those who form their voter base (obviously) but if you don’t vote then they don’t care quite as much about you because you aren’t helping land them in power.
I think the other reason for this rapidly dropping youth voter turnout rate is due to the shift in attitude regarding the whole institution of voting. Beyond the problem of people thinking that their vote doesn’t matter, the younger generations don’t see voting as a civic duty. And if we don’t change that, this drop is going to keep dropping as we grow older and still remain not an active part of the electoral process.
Please vote. Educate yourself about the parties and vote for the one who will be governing your country and by extension of that, your lives. If you don’t really know which is the best then spoil your ballot, but be a part of the process.
Watch the election debate and do shots every time Elizabeth May absolutely wrecks another candidate, or Harper tries to make something clear, or Trudeau insists that Harper is wrong. Mulcair does this smile thing that you should be on the lookout for, but really be on the lookout for their points.
Take some of the quizzes about where you stand in terms of the parties’ policies, there’s this one by Maclean’s which pits two policies against each other at a time (please keep in mind that they’re random and won’t necessarily be equally weighted in terms of importance to you) or this one from ISideWith which is more comprehensive in terms of details of each policy.
Don’t be a 30 under 30. Well, you know what I mean.