While youth participation in the 2015 general election went up significantly from the previous federal election, voter turnout among Canadians aged 18-24 remained lower (57%) than the national average (68.3%) and much lower than the voter turnout by those aged 55 and older (74%).
Youth – both students and non-students – face several barriers to participating in federal elections.
- Many youth change residences often, making it harder to produce a piece of ID with their current address or to be sent a Voter Information Card. Youth aged 18 to 24 are most likely to leave a polling place due to lack of ID.
- Many students divide their year between the place they go to school and the place they grew up, which leads to confusion about where they should register and vote.
- Youth are also less aware than the general population about advance voting options and registration.
- While youth report high levels of interest in federal elections, they are also more likely to feel that they cannot make a difference by voting and that politics and government are confusing.
- Youth are more likely to view voting as a choice rather than a civic duty, which means that they tend not to vote as consistently as other age groups.
- Youth are also less likely than other age groups to be contacted by political parties and candidates, even though 80% say they would like to be contacted. This lack of contact may be a barrier to participating in an election.
Are you interested in sharing information that helps reduce these barriers?
Are you looking for tools to start a conversation about civic engagement in your community?
Based on feedback we've received from youth leaders and community groups, we've created a tool kit (coming soon) that helps people share information about federal elections with their communities:
- the services that can make their voting experience easier
- the ways in which people can be civically engaged