Campus groups urge young voters to hit the polls

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Published Sept. 12, 2019 11:32 p.m. ET
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There’s an influential group of voters in the coming election whose biggest problem is getting to the polls, and at least one group is trying to fix it.

Future Majority is a non-partisan group of young voters who will be canvassing campuses across the country during the election campaign to drum up commitment among millennials and members of Generation Z to head to the polls. They are on 20 campuses across Canada and have 400 volunteers.

Voters between the ages of 18 and 34 make up the largest segment of the voting population this election, at more than a quarter of the electorate, meaning they have to power to swing the vote in any one party’s favour.

“The power is we can flip ridings,” 21-year-old Payton Mitchell told CTV News. “We can completely create the Canada that we want to see.”

During the 2015 election, turnout among young voters jumped 18 per cent, in part due to enthusiasm surrounding a new and unique politician in Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

Data shows 45 per cent of voters aged 18 to 25 chose the Liberals during the last election, compared to 25 per cent for the NDP and 20 per cent for the Conservatives, but it remains to be seen if the younger generation will continue their support for Trudeau’s Liberals.

“There's a lack of trust in the system, young people feel just really defeated,” said Mitchell.

Future Majority plans to collect 80,000 voting pledges among young people. They also hope to physically walk at least 30,000 students directly to on-campus advance polling stations.

The organization has additional services to help students vote, including notifications sent to their phones containing all the information they might need on election day.

For many of the volunteers, the key to getting the younger generations out to the polls comes from face-to-face interaction in an increasingly digital world.

“When you approach someone in person, especially being a social media generation, some people may not be used to that, and they’re like - it's actually more personal,” said Ethel Naloulay, a volunteer at Trent University.

Future Majority isn’t the only group pushing students to the polls. The Canadian Alliance for Student Associations (CASA) launched their Get Out The Vote campaign last week with the goal of getting more than 80,000 students to vote as well.

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