Politicians say young voters will have a big impact on this election.
Many local politicians are making an effort to get younger voters to the polls for this upcoming provincial election.
On Jan. 15, Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote called for an election after a request was made by Premier Andrew Furey. This call will send voters to the polls in the middle of the winter on Feb. 13, during a pandemic.
With less than a month to campaign for this election, politicians are trying to get as many voters to the polls as they can.
Voter turnout from the younger age group of 18-24 has always been low in Newfoundland. In the 2015 federal election, the voter turnout for this age group was estimated to be 47.5 per cent but fell to 40.5 per cent in the 2019 general election, according to Elections Canada..
“We saw in the last general election Jordan Brown in Labrador West [win] by only 2 votes. I wish young people would look at that and say my vote does count.”
– NDP candidate Kathleen Burt
Politicians say that if more voters in this age group voted it could shape the whole outcome of an election. Two St. John’s candidates who spoke to Kicker say they’d like to see the number of voters between the ages of 18-24 go above 50 per cent in this election.
Lynn Hammond, a Liberal party candidate in the Conception Bay East-Bell Island district, says younger people are finally getting to see what electing the wrong person can do to quality of life and that the younger age demographic needs to be more educated on politics.
“I think that we need to engage young people in high school even before they are of voting age,” said Hammond
Kathleen Burt, the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate for the Topsail Road-Paradise district, says most of the time young people don’t vote because they don’t see themselves reflected in the candidates. Burt agrees with Hammond that younger voters need to be more educated about the political system.
“A lot of people come out of high school now not knowing the very basics of our democracy,” said Burt. “ Having taught (Canadian history) myself, I know how much misinformation there is about democracy.”
It’s important, says Burt, for young people to understand how important their vote is.
“We saw in the last general election Jordan Brown in Labrador West [win] by only 2 votes. I wish young people would look at that and say my vote does count,” said Burt.
“Being in places where young people are and seeking out and using social media platforms that they use are some of the ways to connect with younger voters, and having young people on your campaign team is essential.”
– Liberal candidate Lynn Hammond
Hammond says connecting with young voters on social media is a great way to get them out to the polls.
“Being in places where young people are and seeking out and using social media platforms that they use are some of the ways to connect with younger voters, and having young people on your campaign team is essential,” said Hammond
Talking about important issues that affect younger voters not just during election time, says Burt, is a great way to get younger people into politics because politicians are trying to create change for them. She also believes that identifying the youth vote is a key role during a campaign
“Trying to identify that youth vote and making an effort to get them out to vote. . . It’s a little bit tough to do because unless you’ve got a really well-funded campaign it’s hard to get out and do a complete thorough door-to-door to find out because none of the information we get as a politician tells us how old someone is as a voter,” said Burt.