The BC Federation of Students and the Alberta Student Executive Council have partnered together on a campaign to promote student voting in the federal election.
Created by the BCFS, Influence the Vote campaign aims to inform younger Canadians on the importance of voting in the upcoming federal election.
In a news release, the BCFS said economic devastation from the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted students and young people. They’ve received the least amount of help from any economic recovery benefits created by the government.
The results of this election could depend on Canadians between the ages of 18 to 35, as they are the country’s largest voting age group.
Many eligible Canadians were not able to vote in the 2019 election, and Michael Gauld, Secretary-Treasurer at the BCFS wants to make sure they have the best information as first-time voters.
Research also shows that when a person votes once, there is at least a 50 per cent chance that they will vote again.
First-time voters might not be aware of certain things like what types of ID to bring, what polling station they need to report to, and which candidates are running in their riding, and Influence the Vote is working to provide answers to these questions and more.
“We’re the fastest growing voting bloc,” Gauld says, adding that younger voters turned out in record numbers for the 2019 election and 2020 B.C. provincial election.
A BCFS report shows that the 2015 and 2019 federal elections had increasing numbers of young voter turnout, and Millennials and Generation X make up almost half of the country’s population.
Canadians between the ages of 18 to 35 already make up the largest voting population in the country, and as time goes on, the percentage will only increase.
The report says many young Canadians are eager to vote because they are impacted by many issues and have uncertain futures. The report lists the rising prices of the housing market, high costs of education, the uncertain job market, the global climate crisis, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as some of the issues young Canadians face.
In order to ensure that voting is made easier for them, the report recommends polling stations on campus as well as providing information for people who are voting outside their home communities. However, that may not be possible after Elections Canada announced the cancellation of their Vote on Campus program, citing it was “too difficult” for pandemic and snap election reasons.
Gauld says the Influence the Vote partnership with the BCFS and the Alberta Student Executive Council is to push for a louder voice in the western part of Canada. Gauld says the West is sometimes ignored, and both provincial student organizations are working together to send a strong message to politicians and parliament.
The collaboration between the BCFS and the Albertan Student Executive Council is a way to “build solidarity,” according to Gauld.
When young Canadians sign up for the Influence the Vote campaign, they will receive updates on the election and information on where to vote. They can also find information on candidates from various ridings.