So, how might we increase the voting rate in the territory? Why aren’t people interested in making the effort to vote?
There is a bit of difficulty in determining the rate of voters who actually turn out. According to Elections Canada, our rate was reasonably low. According to the National Post, quoting Elections Canada, our rate was the highest of the territories in the 2008 election with an eligible voting rate of 63.7%. However, turnout for Yukon voters in the 2004 election was 58%.
So, how can we improve on these figures next time around? We could probably begin by looking at who doesn’t turn out to the polls, and this is a relatively easy question to answer. Voters above the age of 38 are the first group where more than 50% actually vote. Younger voters, such as the 18-21½ (24%) age groups and 21½-24 (29%) age groups are seriously underrepresented in the final vote.
Green Party candidate, John Streicker has asked the other candidates to issue a joint press release on combining efforts to increase the rate of youth voting. Do I think this will have much effect? Not really. That being said, a far more important effort is coming. The Bringing Youth Towards Equality group (BYTE) is organizing an all candidates forum on youth issues. I suspect that people of the actual demographic group trying to increase youth engagement will probably have far more chances for success and I look forward to seeing how well this works.
Can an election be made interesting to youth? Heck, can this election be made interesting in general? Given the shortage of platforms finalized and no real statements so far on local issues, I’m waiting to see something happen.