Social Media

Monday, 23 March 2015

How do we boost youth turnout in Canada?

by Ilona Doherty

Three things to know about young Canadians and voting:

1.  In the 2011 Federal Election only 38.8% of Canadians aged 18-24 voted, continuing a long-term downward trend in Canada and throughout most of the western world of young people not opting into the democratic process. 
2.  Voting – or not voting – is a habit. If a young person doesn’t vote in the first two elections when they are eligible, they are less likely to vote throughout the rest of their lives. 
3.  If we don’t address this issue, in a generation we will have a country where the majority of citizens don’t vote. To begin tackling this problem, first we need to dispel a few myths about young people. 

Three myths about young Canadians and voting:

Myth #1:  Young people are left leaning in how they vote. 

Reality:  In the US “for most of the past four decades there was little difference in the voting preferences of younger and older Americans” a Pew Research Centre study concluded. Research clearly shows us again and again that young people tend to vote like their parents. All political parties should consider young people as a potential voting base.

Myth #2:  Young people are more cynical about politics than their elders.

Reality:  When it comes to being cynical about politics young people and their parents don’t agree.  Research tells us that young people are actually more optimistic than their elders. We don’t need to convince young people that voting is important, we just need to support them in getting out to the polls.

Myth #3:  Social media is the solution to this problem.

Reality:  Asking a young person to vote in person increases the likelihood that they will vote by 10% and is by far the most effective method.  Reversing a long-term trend isn’t easy, but organizations like Apathy is Boring will be working hard in 2015 and beyond to ensure that the next generation of Canadians becomes a generation of active citizens.

For more on this issue, attend a presentation by Ilona Dougherty, President & Co-Founder of Apathy is Boring, brought to you by the Peter Lougheed Leadership College in conjunction with the University of Alberta Students’ Union.

Monday, March 23, 2015
4:30 – 5:30 PM
1-190 Edmonton Clinic Health Academy
University of Alberta Campus

As seating is limited, advanced registration is recommended:

A lifelong social & public policy innovator, Ilona Dougherty’s diverse experiences range from being a Canadian delegate to a United Nations conference at 17 years old to working with youth in a small community above the Arctic Circle. In January 2004, Ilona co-founded Apathy is Boring (, a national non-partisan charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy and encourages them to vote. Ilona is a regular commentator on CTV News Channel and, and speaks to audiences internationally about redefining intergenerational relationships, changing the way we think about young people, and encouraging active citizenship. 

No comments:

Post a Comment