I agree to Idea Encouraging Youth Voter Participation, Improving Civic Education
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I disagree to Idea Encouraging Youth Voter Participation, Improving Civic Education


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Encouraging Youth Voter Participation, Improving Civic Education

This policy would seek to allow youth to pre-register to vote upon the age of 15, and making the voter registration a part of the Ontario grade 10 civics course, to increase the level of engagement and attachment youth would have in the democratic process before they vote upon turning 18.

Australia and several American states allow for voter registration below the age of 18, and there there is a positive correlation between voting and being registered as a voter before Election Day, particularly for first time youth voters.

Furthermore, the Chief Electoral Officer of British Columbia recommended in 2011 in his Report to the Legislative Assembly to amend the BC Elections Act to allow the provisional registration of individuals when they are 16 years of age, based on his examination of similar practices and legislation existing in other jurisdiction.

This policy was prioritized by the Ontario Young Liberals at the Summer Fling policy conference in August, and would build on the spirit of youth engagement the OYL is known for.

This policy calls on the Ontario government to amend the Ontario Elections Act to permit the registration of individuals onto the voter list when they are 15 years of age, also amending the Ontario High School curriculum to include the voter registration process, as the majority of students in grade 10 would be 15.

Broadly, it also calls on the Ontario government to work with post-secondary educational institutions to help students living away from home vote.

For more information about this policy and to see some of the reports and studies I used to develop this policy, I encourage you to check out my blog: http://theliberalscarf.blogspot.ca/2013/08/final-version-of-my-policy-to-be.html

Submitted by 1 year ago

Comments (7)

  1. The voter age is not the issue. Young people just do not have the time or motivation to go to a polling station. Ontario should lead Canada by introducing a system of voting on the internet or by smart-phone.

    1 year ago
    1. I am a young person, I have the motivation and the time! That making it too easy for us. What I think the greater issue is we ALL take democracy for granted. It isn't just youth that are apathetic, many people are, so it might come to a restoration project to defend democracy in Canada.

      1 year ago
    2. It's ridiculous to suggest young people don't have time to vote. They are just as able to spend the time as anyone else.

      1 year ago
  2. Engaging youth with political issues like caring for citizens or like promoting business can start the thinking wheels in youg minds.

    1 year ago
  3. William Norman Idea Submitter

    Hey Doug, thanks for your comment!

    Couple of things, first, this policy wouldn't impact the voting age, it would remain at 18. I'm not totally sold on lowering the voting age as solution to youth engagement, but I am sold on the idea of engaging youth in the democratic system by allowing youth to pre-register to vote.

    You mention motivation in your comment, which I am happy to talk about - I really do feel this policy would help make youth feel more motivated and engaged.

    Check out this report from Fair Vote USA:


    "Thousands of young people in these states take advantage of preregistration, and preregistration appears to have positive and persisting long-term effects on their voting propensities...Success of preregistration is maximized when election officials and educators act as partners.... As policy makers consider how to implement preregistration programs elsewhere, providing for means of ensuring participation by educators, such as requiring preregistration as a component of a mandatory high school civics curriculum, will likely result in the most robust implementation of preregistration."

    We've got really solid evidence from the US that a combination of strong civic education and allowing youth voter pre-registration does in fact motivate youth to go vote.

    1 year ago
    1. I'm 70 years old and I am absolutely sold on the idea of lowering the voting age to 16, AND taking the kids out of school on voting day down to the polling station to vote.

      Aside from the fact that this would help kids learn how to be involved in the political process by actually participating, the prospect of youth voters carrying real weight might scare lazy older folks into getting themselves out to vote.

      1 year ago
    2. I would like to add that it isn't just about voting. We need to be more actively involved in governance and decision making outside of election time.

      1 year ago

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