How young people can affect elections

It has often been said that every vote counts in elections. This has sometimes been lost on young voters but it appears that the trend of young people not voting seems to have changed in recent years.

Back in 2008, Barack Obama used social media like no one had before and it paid off big time getting the young vote. At present, Bernie Sanders is working the same magic with young voters but it remains to be seen if it can propel him in the Democratic Primaries in the US. Of course if Sanders does not get the nomination, it is not certain that the young vote will go to Clinton.

As far as Canada is concerned, there are some interesting statistics out about the last federal election, pertaining to the young vote.

Overall, the final voter turnout in 2015 was 68 percent, 8.6 percentage points higher than in 2011 and the highest turnout since the 1993 federal elections.

More than a million additional young Canadians cast a ballot in the last October’s federal election. Breaking the numbers down, the vote for the 18 – 24 age group increased by 12.3 percent and the age group from 25 – 34 increased by 11.1 percent. The turnout increase for voters who are in the 18 – 34 age group is by far the largest among all other age categories. This compares to a 3 percent increase for those between 55 – 64. Of course this age group usually do vote on a regular basis and therefore this increase should not be a big surprise.

The reasons why people did not vote also were different for the age groups.

The young people cited a lack of proper ID, not having a proper address when they were at school and not being on the voter’s list as their reasons for not voting.

For the older age groups the main reasons for not voting were health issues, “too busy” and not interested in politics.

It has been argued that if a “younger” candidate is running, such as Obama and Trudeau, they will attract the young vote. However, this theory has been thrown out the window now that Bernie Sanders is attracting the young vote also, because Sanders is 74 years old.

However, regardless of the age of the candidates, it is heartening to see that young people are becoming interested in the political process.