Spotlight On: Getting Students to Vote

By Vanessa King · August 21, 2015

To many students, voting is like talking on the phone—annoying and to be avoided, even though Mom insists.

In this election, parties are relying on student apathy. Student issues are not referenced on party websites, and they have not been discussed in debates or at campaign stops.

Student issues are rarely in party platforms because students are rarely at the polls. In 2011, only 38.8 per cent of Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 voted, well below the national average of 61.1 per cent.

Even though student issues aren’t being discussed this election, the political parties are using social media—mostly Facebook and Twitter—to connect with voters and capitalize on targeted digital advertising. Justin Trudeau paid to promote the #elxn15 hashtag on Twitter during the Maclean’s Leaders’ Debate, which carries a hefty price tag of $20,000 per day.

Despite an increase in usage, none of the political parties are using social media in ways that will get young people to the polls. Sharing news headlines, boring Senate corruption graphics and videos about how Justin Trudeau isn’t ready won’t convince any student to support one party over the other.

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