Today is Election Day in Canada. For the majority of Canadians, today is the day that change begins. With change comes responsibility and sometimes having the burden of responsibility can be overwhelming, especially for young and new voters. As I looked through my social timelines this morning, I saw numerous posts about the importance of voting alongside voting memes and 140 character long lectures that ridiculed those who claimed that their vote didn’t matter. It’s pretty sad to hear that youth voters feel the need to educate themselves about which political party lies less in order to decide on their vote. They’re told that every vote counts but the real question is does every vote matter?
Will My Vote Matter?
Youth want to know if their vote will affect their current situation, families and their children. They wonder if their vote will be inclusive and considerate for all Canadians, including global citizens. In the digital age, young people are more in-tune with their environment and aware of social issues that affect their daily lives; locally and globally. When the youth have valid concerns that affect their daily lives they are discouraged by the lack of emphasis that politicians place on the important social issues that affect them and their peers.
Transparency and Truth
Voting is a right. If voting is a right, shouldn’t the political process be open and truthful in order for voters to make the right choice? I observed and listened to many of my students while they researched underlying political agendas and compared credentials of each candidate while becoming overwhelmed, exhausted and disconnected from the entire process. It’s no wonder they feel disengaged. It’s a difficult decision for many young voters to make. Especially in this digital age where social media influences their behaviours and their opinions are validated by the value of a “like” button. Instead of adding to the pressure and stress of voting by faulting youth for not exercising their right to vote or ridiculing them for they’re lack of participation, how do we educate youth about politics in a way that’s engaging, inclusive and truthful?
Vote or Die Trying
Youth shouldn’t feel like they have to choose between voting and death. They should feel as if their vote matters and not just seen as a choice of the lesser evil.
How can we make the political process more transparent and easier for youth to make choices that will affect their lives and the lives of others? With the abundance of accessible information online, it also becomes more difficult for youth to distinguish the truth and make rationale decisions. Youth voters shouldn’t have to read between the lines to discover which platform or agenda each political party stands on. They also shouldn’t feel like they have to choose between voting or death (figuratively speaking of course). They should feel as if their vote matters and not just seen as a choice of the lesser evil.