Being fortunate enough to live in a country like Canada, where we have the right to choose our political leaders, is a privilege. But since we have it so good here, voters often decide not to take part in our Municipal, Provincial, and Federal elections. Other reasons potential voters decide not to engage is the simple fact that they don't see change happening, they don't follow the news, and they just don't care.
Edmonton, Alberta had a 33 per cent voter turnout in the 2010 Municipal Election. Only 1/3 of eligible voters came out and cast their ballots. This year, in 2013, some are predicting a voter turnout of close to 40 per cent. Personally, I would like to see voter turnout in Edmonton increase to over 50 per cent by the 2021 Municipal Election.
How will we accomplish this? How do we get more of our citizens to take advantage of their opportunity to vote? How do we get the younger generation more engaged? Simply, we need to start at the grass roots level, our children.
When I was in grade school, the Edmonton Eskimo Football Team sent one of their players to speak at my school. Before then, I wasn't a big football fan. But after that player came and spoke, I started watching and following the team. I am proud to say now that I am, and will continue to be, a lifelong Edmonton Eskimo football fan.
Our elected officials need to spend any chance they get talking to our children about the importance of voting and how lucky we are to have the right to vote. Taking even just a few minutes out of one's schedule to speak to a group of students and answer their questions can make a huge impact in the future.
These kids learn about politics in their classroom, which is fantastic, but having someone involved in the process come in and speak to them will surely peak their interest alot more and thus make them much more likely to vote when they turn 18.
It's up to us to be more proactive in our approach to attack and solve the issue of voter apathy. Seeing results from this potential solution could take a long time, but we must start now in order to start seeing progress by the end of this decade.