Why youth doesn't vote
Elections are coming up -- but youth doesn't care.
This is the same tired, old line that inevitably crops up at some point during election time, and Toronto's 2010 municipal election is no different.
Yes, city-wide voter turnout was a mere 39.3% in the city's most recent election in 2006.
Yes, youth voter turnout is notoriously low in elections for all levels of government.
But the notion that young Torontonians somehow don't care about the well-being of their city is a lazy explanation at best -- and a ludicrous one at worst -- for why they aren't hitting the polls.
When I asked two of my friends if they'd be voting in the upcoming election, both said "No" without a moment's hesitation. Both are educated 22-year-olds (one is finishing up her undergrad degree and the other is enrolled in a masters program) who, contrary to the stereotype of a young non-voter, do have opinions on issues beyond whether The Hills is scripted or genuine reality. But the thing is: they're discouraged from voting.
One oft-cited reason is cynicism of politicians -- that they don't follow through with promises, and only have their political interests at heart. And to be frank, who can blame them with antics like this happening more than I care to count.
But an even more compelling reason, mentioned by one of my friends, is the lack of access to information -- and perhaps more importantly -- interesting and relevant information about elections.
It's great that candidates are reaching out to Toronto's youth through Twitter and Facebook; and indeed, social media is an effective tool to champion one's cause or disseminate one's views.
But at the end of the day, regardless of the means of delivery, these causes and views are moot if politicians aren't connecting to young people on a level they can relate to -- that is: more efficient TTC service so I can get to school faster; more funding for community centres so I can play basketball with my friends...
Youth is more likely to respond (and vote) if
it sees the upcoming election as a means to effect tangible change
that influences daily lives.
So, candidates: Please leave your jargon-filled rhetoric to the academics.