Canadian Youth Voter Turnout Essay

Canadian Youth Voter Turnout


Since the 1980s to 2015, the younger electorates in Canada came out in lowest numbers for the voting exercise among all other age segments for federal general elections. Whereas young electorate involvement for the 42nd federal elections in 2015 had been considerably greater than in earlier years, it was quite under the total electoral involvement level. Such a disconnection by Canadian youth from involvement in the voting system has served as a major downward impact on total turnout numbers (Barnes & Virgint, 2010).

Estimated average involvement in state-federal elections has maintained below 70 percent since 1993. The 2008 poll had the lowest turnout since Confederation, with an approximately 56.5 percent of qualified electorates voting. Total turnout rose significantly to 58.5 percent during the 2011 elections, then rose further to 66.1 percent in the 2015 federal election.

The traditional thinking that non-voters are becoming electorates as they grow old may no longer be considered valid, as per a variety of research. That having been noted, the participation during the 2015 poll had been such as to guarantee a reevaluation of young electorate participation in Canada’s civic duty.

This article offers a summary of young electorate turnout from 1965 to 2015 and continues to explore the impacts of decreasing electorate turnout on Canadian politics (Barnes & Virgint, 2010). Canadian young electoral involvement factors are consequently investigated through multiple surveys as well as analyses. It will then analyze measures adopted to address the scenario by the Elections Canada body.

Younger voter turnout factors

Social-demographic Factors

Blais and Loewen revealed a set of socio-demographic factors which could influence a youthful person’s electoral practices. They discovered that youthful individuals of today were less probable to be married, are highly trained, are significantly less Christian, receive fewer earnings, and are much more probable to be raised in Canada than youthful individuals of earlier times (Blais & Loewen, 2009).

The researchers asserted that, of such socio-demographic variables, learning or being Canadian born is the most important in the younger generation’s desire to vote. The data collected by the writers indicate that individuals aged 18–24 were 9 percent more probable to vote than non-students in the very same age group and that Canadian-born young people aged 18–24 were 12 percent more probable to vote than young people originating outside Canada (Blais & Loewen, 2009). Consequently, the writers recommend that those originating from outside Canada are hesitant in taking part in the electoral process as compared to the Canadian-born individuals. In a survey conducted for Elections Canada in Jan 2015, Antoine Bilodeau, as well as Luc Turgeon, attained similar findings with those of Blais and Loewen about the implications for being given birth in Canada on young people casting a vote propensity. However, concerning the student status of electorates, the researchers noted that being a learner, minimized the tendency to cast a vote in the 25–34 age bracket but still had no significant impact on participants of the 18–24 demographic group (Blais & Loewen, 2009). Although they were not able to justify this outcome, the writers placed forward the theory that “age supersedes the student effect.”

Political-related Factors

Political variables – which include interest in and knowledge regarding politics – also have a much higher impact on youthful individuals´ electoral behavior according to  Blais and Loewen as compared to socio-demographic variables.

Interest in politics: According to (Adsett, 2003), it could be stated that platforms for political party voting don’t involve problems which are crucial to youthful individuals. Nevertheless, this proposition was disputed by political analysts who performed a research study after the 2004 federal election for the Elections Canada body (Adsett, 2003).

Bilodeau and Turgeon argue that youthful individuals are less involved in politics, whether at the national or regional stage. They as well state that youthful individuals were less probable to experience an obligation to a political group than individuals of elderly age categories.

Political awareness or knowledge: The writers of a 2004 report compiled for Elections Canada claimed said there were “remarkable” discrepancies in the understanding of politics among younger Canadians (Pammett & LeDuc, 2003). Indeed, the prevailing opinion by many political analysts was that a substantial percentage of younger voters go to the elections without the required information to make an enlightened decision. The 2015 National Youth Research not only disclosed that younger people were less informed than elderly people when it comes to governance but also to acquire data regarding political movements and contestants than the elderly.

Influence from media: Whenever the concern of cynicism is introduced, the press are sometimes identified as the perpetrators. Tv is a specific aim as it appears to concentrate on disputes in politics. However, press use has been known to have a positive general effect on the development of political understanding, even though its effect relies on the method used. Reading journals and reviewing news sites have a powerful positive impact on youthful Canadians ‘ voting involvement while viewing television and tuning to the radio don’t have an impact as high as TV (Pammett & LeDuc, 2003).

Measures to enhance the turnout of youthful Canadians in elections

According to (Anderson & Goodyear-Grant, 2008), the participation level among youthful Canadians has become a subject of interest for several yrs. A range of policies have already been suggested to tackle the decrease in youthful participation, and those adopted by Elections Canada in the past few years are worth mentioning (Anderson & Goodyear-Grant, 2008). Provided that not quite enough period has elapsed since the most previous federal general election, comparatively few research were released that evaluate the factors for the substantial rise in youthful voter turnout from the level reported in the 2011 ballot. As of this article, it is therefore difficult to tell if the Elections Canada measures have had any immediate effect on voter turnout.

The concept of reducing the voting age from 18 to 16 is frequently discussed as a prospective method of enhancing youthful Canadians ‘ voter involvement. In 1991, the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing suggested that Parliament review the matter periodically (Anderson & Goodyear-Grant, 2008). Advocates of reducing electorate age also note that polling is a civic duty and should be imposed on youthful individuals before they complete college. Even so, as of now, there’s no strong proof to indicate that any such policy might boost participation levels in Canada, at least in the long-range.


Blais, A., & Loewen, P. (2009). Youth electoral engagement in Canada (p. 10). Elections Canada.

Barnes, A., & Virgint, E. (2010). Youth Voter Turnout in Canada: Trends and Issues. Library of Parliament.

Adsett, M. (2003). Change in the political era and demographic weight as explanations of youth ‘disenfranchisement’ in federal elections in Canada, 1965–2000. Journal of youth studies, 6(3), 247-264.

Pammett, J. H., & LeDuc, L. (2003). Explaining the turnout decline in Canadian federal elections: A new survey of non-voters (p. 21). Ottawa: Elections Canada.

Anderson, C. D., & Goodyear-Grant, E. (2008). Youth turnout: adolescents’ attitudes in Ontario. Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue Canadienne de science politique, 41(3), 697-718.














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