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While youth participation in the 2015 general election went up significantly from the previous federal election, voter turnout among Canadians aged 18-24 remained lower (57%) than the national average (68.3%) and much lower than the voter turnout by those aged 55 and older (74%).

Youth – both students and non-students – face several barriers to participating in federal elections.

Access-related barriers

  • Many youth change residences often, making it harder to produce a piece of ID with their current address or to be sent a Voter Information Card. Youth aged 18 to 24 are most likely to leave a polling place due to lack of ID.
  • Many students divide their year between the place they go to school and the place they grew up, which leads to confusion about where they should register and vote.
  • Youth are also less aware than the general population about advance voting options and registration.

Motivational barriers

  • While youth report high levels of interest in federal elections, they are also more likely to feel that they cannot make a difference by voting and that politics and government are confusing.
  • Youth are more likely to view voting as a choice rather than a civic duty, which means that they tend not to vote as consistently as other age groups.
  • Youth are also less likely than other age groups to be contacted by political parties and candidates, even though 80% say they would like to be contacted. This lack of contact may be a barrier to participating in an election.

Are you interested in sharing information that helps reduce these barriers?

Are you looking for tools to start a conversation about civic engagement in your community?

Based on feedback we've received from youth leaders and community groups, we've created a tool kit (coming soon) that helps people share information about federal elections with their communities:

  • the services that can make their voting experience easier
  • the ways in which people can be civically engaged