VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – We’re under two weeks away from the federal election, and if the last edition is any indicator, young voters are not going to be very involved.
Four years ago, 39 per cent of voters aged 18 to 24 participated, in contrast to 75 per cent of those eligible in the age 65 to 74 category.
“There’s a pretty significant spread between the youngest voters and the oldest voters,” says UBC political scientist David Moscrop. “It’s holding over time. You’re more likely to vote the older you are, at the moment, right up until 75.”
Moscrop says part of this comes down to the fact political parties largely ignore young people — many election pledges and speeches by the major parties focus on seniors, families or the middle class.
“It’s not that they don’t care,” insists Moscrop of young voters. “It’s that they don’t feel like they’re not being included in the system, they feel like politics is happening without them, and it doesn’t matter if they participate. Most importantly they’re not being contacted by the parties, they’re not being contacted by leaders.”
Moscrop cites a story he hears time and time again — a politician out door knocking and when a young voter answers, the question comes out — ‘are your parents home?’
One way to improve youth involvement could be mandatory voting, suggests Moscrop — something he’s recently changed his mind about after previously having reservations on the matter.