Voting for the first time can be a confusing occasion for many new youth voters like myself. Most of us don’t know what we’re doing and many end up not voting altogether.
The fear of not knowing if you’re doing it right or if your vote will even matter might be why many new voters are hesitant to cast ballots this year.
Scarborough voter Danna Sanchez, 20, says she is unsure as she comes from a family of non-voters, with her parents only ever voting once in a Canadian election.
“They hated the system,” she says. “They didn’t really explain much but they did mention about how much their vote didn’t really matter.”
Voting was never really a topic discussed in my age group. We didn’t learn about it in schools and most parents wouldn’t normally talk about voting. It may be a civic duty every Canadian should do, yet we are not taught how. As we finally become eligible to vote, a lot of us still have fears that make us hesitant.
The fear of placing a vote that won’t make a difference is a common fear, especially for those who don’t want to vote for the two major parties. Youth who support parties like NDP and the Green party understand that the chance of their preferred candidates getting elected is small.
Nineteen-year-old Ajax resident Quean Smith has this fear. “I don’t really see the point in voting because the person I want elected won’t get elected,” she says.
Some youths I’ve spoken to aren’t into politics or didn’t like the candidates running. Others are simply unaware of what was going on in the world of politics.
Elections.ca found that even though the turnout of youth voters rose during the 2015 election, young people were still voting significantly in fewer numbers than older generations.
A sudden increase in youth voters for one election doesn’t mean they’ll continue to vote in other elections. This election could show whether there will be a repeat of what happened in 2015, young voters group are expecting a strong youth turnout this year.
But there will always be those who just aren’t ready.
I’m going to vote this time, even though it gives me the same amount of anxiety as needles do. I’ll do it. It’s my duty to make my voice heard and to strive for the change I want in this country and, if voting is the way to do it, I’ll go to the polls.