VANCOUVER— Today, the BC Federation of Students is joined by the Alberta Student Executive Council in launching Influence the Vote, a campaign aimed at mobilizing Canadian students and youth to vote in the surprise federal election.
This September’s federal election will be one of the most important elections in recent memory. Students and young people have been disproportionately affected by the economic devastation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have been among the least to benefit from economic recovery efforts. The pandemic recovery, along with climate change, systemic racism and discrimination, and the increasing unaffordability of education and basic necessities are among some of the concerns that will shape the voting behaviour of Canada’s largest voting bloc, young voters under 35.
“This election is going to be extremely close, and young people will be the deciding factor of who forms government,” said Melissa Chirino, Chairperson of the BC Federation of Students. “Over the next 35 days, student leaders and volunteers will be encouraging college and university students across the country to vote for the party that best supports their priorities.”
There has been an increase in youth voter turnout over several recent federal and provincial elections, and this early election will be no different. Young voters turned out in record numbers in the 2015 federal election, and voter turnout among those 18 to 24 years of age increased by over 18%. Moreover, voters under 34 years old experienced the smallest decline when comparing voting rates from the 2020 and 2017 BC general elections with other age groups. With pundits across the country saying this election will be decided by very close margins in a small number of ridings, students know their vote will make the difference.
Research shows two barriers for young people voting. One is not knowing enough information and the second is not thinking their vote matters. The Influence the Vote campaign will provide supports with all the necessary, non-partisan information needed to cast their ballot. The campaign will also encourage people to sign up as Influencers, so they can demonstrate their intention to vote and inspire their friends to join as well.
“Voter turnout will continue to increase as young people continue to take up political space on their own terms. This federal election will be no different; parties and leaders must engage with young people as a serious voting bloc and treat us like the engaged constituents we are,” said Liam Hunter, Chair for the Alberta Student Executive Council. “After a trying 18 months, young people will not be ignored and will fight to build back a post-pandemic Canada that includes what is important to us.”
More information about the Influence the Vote campaign, including an online pledge to vote and the Federation’s report on youth voter turnout, can be found at:
The BC Federation of Students represents over 170,000 students at 15 universities and colleges in every region of BC. Together, these students advocate for a well-funded system of post-secondary education in BC that is affordable and accessible for all students.
The Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC) is a provincial advocacy organization representing the interests of 110,000 students from 17 post-secondary institutions across Alberta. An organisation where students learn, lead, and work together to create innovative solutions for Alberta’s post-secondary sector.
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