Motivating youth to vote

To increase voter turn out amongst youth, MTV Canada and MuchMusic have launched an ad campaign that shows people urinating in various places with the caption “There are other ways to mark your territory. On Oct. 14, vote.”

Although the ad might seem distasteful to many adults, and to some teenagers, it was meant to be funny and to motivate young people to vote.

But do these types of tactics actually work?

To engage young voters, you must appeal to them and try to spark some interest. Using tactics such as showing a person urinating and then telling them to go and vote may have the youth think elections are quite trivial.

But to get youth to vote, you have to make it convenient for them.

At the University of Toronto at Scarborough, polling stations will be nowhere in sight on Election Day. Students living on residence will have to go to a nearby elementary school to cast their ballots and they might not want to go out of their way to choose their next prime minister.

There are many factors as to why the youth may not decide to vote. These days, teens are engaged in many things.

Some go to school and work, whereas others are involved in extra circular activities. With our fast paced world today, many find it hard just to juggle everything, so thinking about elections is the last thing on their minds.

Some youth are just genuinely disinterested.

A lot of young adults today have very little political knowledge. Even with Civics classes in high school where students are taught about civic duty and our electoral processes, very few take an interest in Canadian politics.

Perhaps they think it’s just too dull. When was the last time anyone seen a bunch of high school students discussing who they are going to vote for.

They may also feel disconnected.

Many young adults aren’t usually contacted by a party and don’t get a chance to speak to local candidates. When candidates go door to door, usually they ask to speak to the owner of the home.

They usually don’t try to engage youth and ask who they may be voting for. This way, youth may feel that their votes aren’t counted or no one cares if they vote or not.

If you go onto the Elections Canada website, there is a whole section on young voters. It goes through the election basics, who the members of parliament are and also who the candidates are in each riding.

It even has resources that they can read up on so they can acquaint themselves with the electoral processes, how to get involved with the elections and even play interactive word games about the elections.

It’s important that we get our youth interested in voting. After all, they have many years ahead them and it’s better to get them in the habit if voting while they’re young.