10/27/2014 05:50 EDT | Updated 12/27/2014 05:59 EST

Want to Get Millennials to Vote? Have Them Vote for a 'Party'

As we head into Monday's municipal election in Ontario (and upcoming mid terms in the U.S.) -the results will be whatever they'll be -- but if history serves, one thing is certain: people in their 20s will turn out in very small numbers.

We have heard it all before: "It's your civic duty", "Your vote matters". This old song and dance is increasingly unappealing to millennials who -- let's face it -- just aren't voting.

Some believe that in order to engage young people to get out there and vote we just need to say these old turns-of-phrase louder, maybe throw in a dash of social media or a 'cool' celebrity-laden video for good measure. The problem with this is that it doesn't address the specific reasons why millennials aren't getting out to vote.

It's important to note that we are not talking about an unengaged group here. Overall,

- 60 per cent participate in their community

- 55 per cent get involved when help is needed

- 55 per cent volunteer time to help others

But still, only 38.8 per cent of Canadians aged 18-24 voted in the 2011 federal election and turn out is even lower for provincial and municipal elections. Why? Because millennials feel that their vote doesn't matter and that it doesn't have an impact.

We believe that to get young Canadians to vote (short of finding a Canadian Barack Obama) we need to stop telling them to vote and give them a reason to. We need to reintroduce the concept of voting and lead with the carrot, not with the stick.

How do we do that?

Celebrate voting with a great party, something that's fun and also drives the behaviour. So our PUBLIC Inc. team has partnered with Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. this municipal election to do just that, in an initiative we call 'Vote for a Party'

On Monday, we will be stationed throughout Toronto's Ward 19 giving out "tickets" to eligible voters that can be exchanged for entry to one of three parties in Ward 19. At the party, Beau's will be launching their new brew: Ballot Beer.

We believe it's imperative that we work to identify ways to engage this large, powerful, passionate demographic. After all, there are 9.2 million millennials in Canada -- who in the next 15 years will comprise 75 per cent of the labour force.

If our future business leaders, teachers and activists don't believe or participate in the democratic process, we're in big trouble -- now is the time to overhaul how we engage and talk to voters!


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