Getting Young Canadians Ready for the Federal Election with Student Vote

September 15th, 2015 by CIVIX

The federal election is scheduled for October 19 and, fittingly, the theme of this year’s Canada’s Democracy Week is “Let’s Get Canada Ready to Vote!” As the Student Vote program shows, preparing young Canadians for the voting process can, and should, start at an early age.

Since 2003, the Student Vote program has been giving students under the voting age the opportunity to experience the voting process and have a voice in the election.

Student Vote is a parallel election program offered to elementary and high schools during official federal, provincial and municipal elections. Participating students learn about government and the electoral process, research the party platforms and local candidates, and participate in an authentic vote for the official candidates in their school’s riding.

Registered schools receive all the material necessary to run the program, including educational resources, an election manual, posters, voting screens, ballot boxes and ballots.

This fall will be the fifth Student Vote project organized at the federal level. In the last federal election, 563,000 students across Canada cast a Student Vote ballot, and an estimated 700,000 will do so this fall.

Why is it important to engage students in the electoral process?

Voter turnout in Canada has been declining for decades and is driven especially by low voter turnout among youth. In the 2011 federal election, only 39 percent of voters aged 18–24 voted, compared to 70 percent of voters aged 55 and over.

Not only is turnout among young Canadians at historic lows, but studies have shown that habits of voting and non-voting persist over time, which is why it is all the more important for young Canadians to begin voting when they are first eligible.

The goal of Student Vote is to create life-long voters who are ready, willing and able to participate in their democracy.

Schools can sign up now at www.studentvote.ca or by calling our team toll-free at 1-866-488-8775.

This blog was originally posted on the Canada’s Democracy Week website.

Posted in English, Special Events |

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