Young people don’t vote in large numbers in elections. I’m not sure the reason for this other than my own experience as a young person when my contribution seemed minimal, sometimes irrelevant. There are 2.5 million eligible voters in Alberta for the election on May 5 and as our last mayoral election showed every vote counts, even a single one. So how to encourage younger voters to participate?
Ask them if they plan to vote. If there’s any cynicism about the value of their vote, tell them about the last Ponoka election for mayor. Ask them about the contributions their parents, their grandparents and great-grandparents made to this country and how they changed it often by the sweat of their labour. We’re not expected to make great and earth shattering contributions, just small, valuable ones that together can change important things. Let them know they aren’t stray dogs wondering in the wilderness but belong to a community that sometimes struggles to stay connected. If they’re not registered, help them or invite them to call the constituency registration office at 403-782-1301. Saturday May 2 will be the last date to register. If they can’t make that deadline, they can come to the voting station on voting day and present their driver’s licence for registration. If they have no driver’s licence, they can bring a bill with their current address and another I.D. like a health care card or library card.
This election is about all citizens being included where every vote counts. We don’t have a perfect political system but we’re doing our best as we work towards a more representative model.