Young people caused surge in election votes: StatCan
But a lot were 'too busy' to vote
February 23, 2016, 1:04 pm ASTLast Updated: February 23, 2016, 6:52 pm
The surge in voter turnout in last fall’s federal election is due in large part to young people.
Statistics Canada released the results from its voter turnout survey Monday. Every age group and every province saw an increase, leading to a 77 per cent voter turnout overall, up from 70 in 2011.
The biggest spike in turnout was in the 18 to 24 demographic, which climbed from 55 per cent in 2011 to 67 per cent in 2015, up 12 percentage points. The rate for the 25 to 34 group jumped 11 percentage points.
“I think it’s great,” said Mohamad Elgayar, a political science student at Dalhousie and president of the university’s political science society. He campaigned actively last fall to get students to vote.
“I think it’s finally happened that students are concerned… in politics because they realize it affects them.”
Elgayar has high hopes for future elections. He doesn’t think this is a one-time surge.
“The youth are now the new movers of politics,” he said. “I think it’s going to keep going. And people realize that (the) student vote matters. Student voter turnout is going to increase more and more every single year.”
Voter turnout was up in all demographics, with turnout still lowest among youth. In comparison, age groups 45 and older all hovered around the 80 per cent turnout mark.
Statistics Canada also found there were a lot people who didn’t vote. One-third of non-voters said they aren’t interested in politics and about 20 per cent said they were just too busy to vote.
Elections Canada also did some math just after the last election. It saw a 68 per cent voter turnout overall, compared to 61 per cent four years prior.