Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Youth Apathy: A Possible Solution

Part II, how do we get youth to vote. Mandatory voting I have always been against this because we should be sending people to the polls who want to vote not forcing them to cast a ballot in which many wouldn’t have a clue who and what they are voting for. But what we should do is lower the voting age to 16, but I qualify that (ironically this was suggested in the article I attacked earlier today). I have to admit that I am new to believing that a lowered vote age is good for Canada. I used to side with the camp that since those at the age are overwhelmingly uniformed (even more so then the next age group up 18-25) it would be frivolous and possibly hazardous.

So what exactly is the qualification that would need to be included for me to support the lowering of the voting age. It would b a mandatory mini-civics program in the lead up to the election date in high school. Now I am not saying we force students to skip lunch to come to this but would it be was during English class (a subject which is mandatory for all levels of high school) two or three classes are taken up through the campaign to teach students the system, the issues and give then a chance to read the platforms of the parties.

Now, this is a tad harder then it seems as you would need the agreement of all the provinces but I believe even with teachers whining about losing class time to this they would all be on board. Another qualification would be that a voting station should be located in the school. Thus they can easily access the polls to vote, and in most cases the high schools are a voting station anyways. (now I am aware that in some cases where students travel out of their ridings or even polls to go to school this is a problem which I have no answer to).

The philosophy behind this that high school is an opportunity where the government has access to almost every single person within a certain age group and with that they can promote the importance of voting. Here we have a chance to teach those at a very young age about the system and at the same time they will have the opportunity to take what they learned and use it.

I am not so sure I am convinced on the reasons why those 16 should be afforded the same rights as someone 18 but I will support the measure because it is an opportunity to start to get youth voting. If we engrain in their system at an age where we have access to so many of them that voting is an important thing and it is easy they will be more likely to continue doing it. Studies show that once you start voting you are extremely more likely to vote in the next election then someone who did not vote.


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