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'I have a voice and my voice matters': First-time voter says engagement is high
VICTORIA - Maddy Morrison is a first year University of Victoria student who is celebrating another first: voting in the federal election. She wrote a blog post about how easy the process was for her on campus, and told CTV News Vancouver the level of engagement she’s seeing is surprising.
"I find people are really more engaged than I thought they would be," Morrison said. "Not just in the university, but looking through snapchat stories, people are posting ‘just voted for the first time.'”
Morrison has proudly been displaying the “It’s Our Vote” sticker she received after casting her ballot at an advance poll.
Many experts say the youth vote was critical to electing Justin Trudeau in 2015, and with a large chunk of voters aged 18 to 38 this election, young people could have a major say in what happens on Oct. 21 as well.
"If they show up at the polls they are in a position to (determine) … not only who is in power but what kind of government we have," said Royal Roads University Associate Professor David Black, an expert in communications who has been looking at youth trends.
Those aged 18 to 38 form an impressive block of voters. The question, though, is will they vote?
"Although we have about one third of the electorate who is generation Y (and now generation Z is a smaller part of them) it remains that the younger voter doesn't typically turn out in decent numbers at the municipal, provincial or the federal level," Black said.
Morrison is hopeful things will be different this election and says she thinks there is social pressure on younger people to vote. For her, university funding and access, as well as climate change, are big issues. One thing she says she and others her age are also talking about is strategic voting.
"Instead of saying, 'Oh, I’m going to vote strategically because that's what I have to do,' I think a lot of young people are saying, 'No, I'm going to vote Green, I’m going to vote NDP because I have a vote and my voice matters.'”
Polls are open in British Columbia from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 21.