Young vot­ers dis­ad­van­taged

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

Many youth will be vot­ing for the first time in the next elec­tion, and will have to nav­i­gate the new bar­ri­ers the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment has en­acted that make it more dif­fi­cult to prove one’s ad­dress in or­der to vote. The so­called “Fair” Elec­tions Act will make it harder for Cana­dian youth to vote in the up­com­ing Oc­to­ber 2015 elec­tion.

The Act dis­al­lows us­age of vouch­ing for voter iden­tity as well as us­age of the voter reg­is­tra­tion card as a form of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion. These two clauses, which will make it harder for Cana­di­ans to prove their ad­dress on elec­tion day, dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect the many young Cana­di­ans who work or study away from home.

The age group with the low­est voter turnout is youth aged 18-24, with al­most two thirds of young Cana­dian vot­ers not cast­ing a vote in the last elec­tion. With this in mind, our gov­ern­ment should be one that en­cour­ages young Cana­di­ans to vote, not one that places ob­sta­cles and makes vot­ing more dif­fi­cult than nec­es­sary. De­spite this, young peo­ple across Canada have the po­ten­tial to be game chang­ers in the next elec­tion.

By de­mand­ing their con­cerns be heard by can­di­dates and en­sur­ing they have ad­e­quate iden­ti­fi­ca­tion on elec­tion day, Cana­dian youth can over­come the bar­ri­ers in place that make it harder for them to vote, and make sure their voices and con­cerns are heard in the next elec­tion. It is not that youth are un­in­ter­ested in vot­ing, it is that there are ad­di­tional bar­ri­ers in place that make vot­ing more dif­fi­cult for many of them. Olivia White, Youth Cam­paigner Coun­cil of Cana­di­ans, P.E.I. Chap­ter

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