The upcoming Canadian federal election is set for Oct. 21, 2019 — which is literally less than a month away — and as past federal election statistics tell us: youth turnout is terrible.
But maybe it’s slowly improving.
The turnout of youth aged 18 to 24 was 57.1 per cent in the 2015 federal election. This was an 18 per cent increase from the 2011 elections. Despite the uptick in young voters, the turnout was still significantly below the overall voter participation of 68.3 per cent.
What is most important to note here is that youth aged 18 to 25 represent the biggest eligible voting demographic in Canada. So, student votes and student voices truly do matter. There are various reasons why we might fail to utilize our power but a lack of electoral knowledge or failure to appreciate the election process could be at the forefront.
However, obtaining the information on how to vote and who to vote for is easier than you might think.
Students and youth understand their political climate but rarely take that next step of political engagement. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Saskatoon last Thursday to kick off his election campaign, and while I noted there were some students and youth present, we were definitely a minority.
It is important to either go to election campaign rallies and talk to your representatives directly or at least listen to what different candidates in your riding have to say to you, the voter. This way you will know where they stand on issues that concern you.
Once you have an idea about who you want to vote for, it is important to make sure that you are registered to vote and know exactly where and when to be voting. Elections Canada recently released a video aimed at helping students vote for the first time. It is a great tool for navigating the election process and gives you step-by-step instructions on how to cast your vote.
Remember, if election day itself does not work for you, there are four early voting days available.
Still not convinced your vote counts? The feeling that your vote doesn’t matter or that your vote gets cast into a black hole — where it seems to have no effect — is totally relatable. The solution to that problem comes with experience and more knowledge about the election process and politics in general.
If everyone thought that their vote did not matter, then we would have absolutely no voter turnout at all — which would not be ideal.
At the end of the day, political leaders, candidates, staffers and an army of volunteers spend a lot of their time and energy in this election process for the sake of voters being heard. As Aristotle claimed, democracy is strengthened by political participation and discourse.
In conclusion, you have no right to complain about taxes being so high or the economy being shit if you do not fucking vote. Simple as that.
Photo: Victoria Becker/ Photo Editor