The Youth Vote. It’s one of those things you hear about in Federal and Provincial elections, but do local youth really have a say in what happens in Princeton politics? Well, the national figures collected by a Dominion Institute survey prior to the 2008 Federal Election may help us all to see why it is important to encourage our children – and our neighbour’s children – to get involved in the voting process.
I am going to attempt to bust a few myths related to The Youth Vote and see how each applies in our local Municipal Election.
Myth 1 – The Youth of Princeton and Area Just Don’t Care
Well, according to the survey noted above, a total of 78-percent of eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 25 believed that their vote really did matter. The telltale stat from that survey comes from the question related to how young people viewed politics in general. Oddly, just 29-percent of the respondents said they found politics to be boring, dull, uninteresting…you get the idea.
Myth 2 – The Youth of Princeton and Area Don’t Know The Candidates
The argument is that disinterested youth are not only unaware of the election process, they are also not current on the candidates they can vote for. Well, when you consider that each school has a Student Council – often selected through the democratic process of an election campaign, all-candidates forums and ballot casting – the skills to seek information are already present.
Sure, not everyone reads a newspaper or pays attention to election information that shows up in the mail, but today’s youth have one of the most powerful tools ever created at their fingertips…the internet. The 2018 local BC Elections will likely be remembered as the one where social media amped up the campaigning for all candidates running in all races.
With social media and websites all over the place, youth – and all other voters for that matter – have the means to do homework on the candidates at their leisure. Plus, you can’t always ignore the election signs that keep popping up around town like weeds or a virus. If you see a name or two enough, chances are you will become curious enough to dig a little deeper.
Myth 3 – The Youth of Princeton and Area Are Totally Engaged
Actually, this is not exactly the case. You don’t normally see local schools opening their doors to candidates so students can ask some questions – possibly an idea for the next Municipal Election? Nor are candidates typically canvassing areas where local youth congregate. When you consider that many of the decisions that will be made in the next four years will impact local youth, you’d think they would be included in the process somehow, wouldn’t you?
Myth 4 – The Youth of Princeton Are Not Concerned About Issues
That is where a lot of politicians make their biggest mistake, assuming that local youth don’t have a clue about what is happening in and around the community. Youth participation has happened in the past which has contributed greatly to such projects as the Skateboard Park and proposed Aquatic Centre. But why are they not always consulted in the decision-making stage?
Surveys have shown that local youth are less interested in who the candidates are but are particularly interested in the issues. Even if most of them are decades away from becoming taxpayers, they are interested in the local job market, career opportunities, recreational facilities and amenities. Should there be a downtown movie theatre? Why can I get a good paying summer job? What is there here that is going to make me want to stay and start my own family?
These are issues that local youth have on their minds. Voting in local elections give them the power to have some input into the future of Princeton. All they have to do is get out and vote. If you know a local youth between the ages of 18 and 25, encourage him or her to cast their first vote. It is actually vitally important that they cast that very first vote.
Here’s Why Princeton Youth Should Cast Ballots
If an eligible voter between the ages of 18 and 25 does not cast ballots in the first two elections (local, provincial, federal) that they are eligible to vote in…they will likely never cast a ballot for the rest of their lives. That piece of data came from the Dominion Institute survey of 2008. Encourage your son or daughter to become part of the change in Princeton by voting in this election.
10/5/2018 11:22:56 am
Back in the day, I always had the elected politicians visit our class (Gr.5) Town Counselor, MP, MLA, School Trustee. We also did mock trials at the courthouse. It was all in an effort to have an informed and engaged youth. I am curious to know how many of my students are active in the political process, as a voter or candidate. I am also curious if engagement in the electoral process is present in today's classroom and if so, at what Grade level(s).
W. George Elliott
10/10/2018 12:32:47 pm
Thanks, Ken. I think that was a great exercise for your students.
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My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly community newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.