Elec­tions Al­berta to collect in­for­ma­tion on fu­ture vot­ers over age 16

Calgary Herald - - CITY+REGION - CLARE CLANCY [email protected]­media.com twit­ter.com/clare­clancy

ED­MON­TON Elec­tions Al­berta will collect vot­ing in­for­ma­tion on res­i­dents 16 and 17 years old for the first time this fall while reg­is­tra­tion ramps up ahead of the next pro­vin­cial elec­tion.

The move will sim­plify the process to reg­is­ter vot­ers when they turn 18, said spokesman Drew West­wa­ter on Thurs­day.

“Our big­gest de­mo­graphic that does not cur­rently vote is the 18to 24-year-old age group, so we’re try­ing to get them early,” he said. “His­tor­i­cally it’s shown that if some­body does vote when they’re 18 ... they tend to be life­long vot­ers.

“It’s about get­ting them out that first time.”

Res­i­dents 18 and older, who are Cana­dian ci­ti­zens, will make up the elec­tor list for the 2019 elec­tion.

El­i­gi­ble vot­ers have two weeks to reg­is­ter with Elec­tions Al­berta be­fore door-to-door vis­its start on Sept. 8. More than 7,000 staff will con­duct the vis­its un­til Sept. 30.

“This is a reg­is­tra­tion process where we can con­firm the in­for­ma­tion we al­ready have in our data­base,” West­wa­ter said, adding this will mark the agency’s first enu­mer­a­tion since 2012.

Reg­is­ter­ing re­quires giv­ing Elec­tions Al­berta a date of birth, gen­der and an ad­dress.

The move to in­clude those 16 and 17 years old in the process com­ple­ments a school pro­gram dubbed Build­ing Fu­ture Vot­ers, rolled out in Grades 6, 9 and 12, West­wa­ter said. The pro­gram en­cour­ages civic en­gage­ment and ex­plains the im­por­tance of mu­nic­i­pal, pro­vin­cial and fed­eral elec­tions.

“So that when they turn 18, they’re more aware of the is­sues, par­ties and choices they have,” he said.

Af­ter the elec­tion is called, in­for­ma­tion about how to vote will be mailed out to those on the list.

Vot­ers can reg­is­ter online with an Al­berta driver’s li­cence or gov­ern­ment iden­ti­fi­ca­tion card. Al­ter­na­tively, vot­ers can con­tact the toll free call cen­tre at 1-877-422-8683 (VOTE) and no iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is re­quired.

If some­body does vote when they’re 18 ... they tend to be life­long vot­ers. It’s about get­ting them out that first time.

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