What do young voters want?

By Aly Lancione and Samantha Corbett

Staff Writers

For young voters, it’s not just about who’s in power, but whether or not their voices are being heard.

“A lot of people don’t think they should vote because they don’t think they know enough about the issues, but just because you don’t know doesn’t mean you don’t have a say,” said Gillian Black after voting in the federal election Oct. 21.

A stream of young voters showed up at the Mountainview United Church polling station in St. Catharines on election day.

“I think people are starting to see that young people can have a voice and that they can be a voice of change,” said Abigail Pittock, a 20-year-old Nursing program student at Brock University.

Many young voters interviewed said health care was the prime issue they considered when making their decision Monday.

“If there’s no support for health care you can see it in your patients,” said Jasmine Kerkhof-Fox, a 28-year-old Nursing student at Brock.

For Rebecca Devaladares, a 20-year-old Public Health student at Brock University, fighting to keep the carbon tax brought her to the
polling station.

“With the Conservative party going against the Liberals and all the people switching to NDP, I wanted to make sure my vote was put in there,” she said.

In 2015, Elections Canada launched a pilot program in an effort to increase the youth vote. The program consisted of opening voting booths in 39 post-secondary campuses across Canada.

With the success of Election Canada’s program during the last federal election, this year the number of advanced polling stations at campuses climbed to 121.

Kerkhof-Fox said during the campaign, she noticed a great deal of attention placed on the election across campus, especially with advanced polls.

Many students were unaware of their ability to exercise their vote in a city that isn’t their hometown.

Devaladares was concerned that studying away from home was going to hinder her ability to vote.

“People were trying to tell me I can’t switch it (address). But I made sure I came out because I want my vote to matter,” she said.