Lowered Voting Age in Canada
recent Canadian elections show that voter turnout is rare amongst the youth. In
2015, people of the ages 18-24 only voted at a 57.1% rate, whereas it was only
38.8% in 2011 (Elections Canada, 2016). Young people simply are not voting
which is leading to their opinions to be diminished.
16 and 17 year olds a chance to vote will not only increase total votes for the
youth, but kick start their interest, resulting in a future with a higher
percentage of the population to be politically involved (The Economist, 2017).
Young people’s disillusionment with the ballot box it important, as voting is
considered a habit. Studies show that over the years, participation rates
amongst the youth is rising, and dropping at insane rates by well over 15%
(Grenier, 2015). This is because young voters have not yet obtained the habit
of voting – and those who do not start at a young age may never start. This
trend could lead to the participation rates to drop exponentially in the future,
depriving the validity and legitimacy of the government in a way that feeds the
idea to question democracy (The Economist, 2017).
the age of 16 and 17, we are given adult responsibilities, yet we cannot even
vote to determine our future. Thousands of 16 and 17 year olds in Canada are
working, contributing to the economy, but do not have a say in the way that
money is spent (NYRA, 2012). People at that age are also expected follow the
law that they have no say in making. Incredible social, economic, and political
achievements have been made, as there has been a Nobel Peace Prize winner
(Farrell, 2014), a cancer researcher (Gajewski, 2015), and a NASA worker (Associated
Press, 2015) all before reaching 18 years of age. Does it not only seem right to lower the age
to vote? An argument opposing this states that 16 year olds are not old enough,
mature enough, or even smart enough to vote. However, there has never been a
required criteria involving smarts or maturity to vote. In fact, peoples mind
grow at many different rates, thus leading to many 16 year olds to be smarter
than 18 year olds are.
People at the age of 16 are much
more engaged in what is happening around the world due to the internet along
with social media (Huppert, 2014). This enables them to know what the pressing
political issues are on a day-to-day basis. On top of this, in grade 10
Canadian students study Civics, which informs us about politics in a way that
would give us more than enough information to vote.
Governments around the world have
stated that lowering the voting age will not matter, as young people do not
care enough about politics. This would be no arbitrary change, however. Turning 18 marks the first time you can
vote, and often coincides with going away to university. Since the majority of
Canadians go to university away from home they are without parents which means they
are not around established voters to follow. As they move around, they do not
have a strong connection with their communities, persuading them away from
voting. If the voting age were to be lowered, 16 year olds could emulate their
parents at the voting stations, picking up their habits. Scotland recently
lowered their voting age, making 16 and 17 year olds eligible to vote in the
independence referendum in 2014. The results were staggering as the voter
turnout for the newly eligible was 75% compared to the 54% that showed up ages
18-24. This proves that young people are excited, and engaged with politics.