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Elections BC

Young voters have the power to help reimagine our political system

By:
Jasleen Bains (@jasleen.bainss)

The 42nd B.C. election is quickly approaching, and if you haven’t been thinking about how you’re going to cast your ballot, it’s certainly time to start. 

For a lot of young people, this election will be the first time they are eligible to vote, which is why it is important as young people to encourage our friends and family to cast their ballots. 

I grew up in a family where my parents were constantly talking about the news, politics, or issues impacting our community. This interest followed me throughout highschool and university where I too became more interested in serving my community and learning about politics.   

I understand that not everyone is wildly invested or passionate about our political system, and this isn’t intended to be a lecture or critique. There haven’t been a lot of opportunities over the years to engage underrepresented groups, so I don’t necessarily find it surprising that many groups feel cynical about formal politics. 

However, that doesn’t mean these groups aren’t interested in social issues. Young people for example, have been instrumental in leading protests about climate change, racial injustice, educational reform, indiegnous solidarity, and much more. 

As a teaching assistant at Simon Fraser University, I am constantly in awe of my students who repeatedly voice their opinions. 

The passion I’ve witnessed firsthand completely dispels the long standing myth that young people don’t care about politics. Politics comes in a variety of forms and with so much at stake, and young people are not backing down. 

In fact, in 2015 there was a huge increase in the number of young voters ages 18-24 who decided to vote in the federal election. The voter turnout among this demographic increased to 57.1 per cent, compared to 38.8 per cent in 2011.    

When it comes to our BC elections, the provincial government is responsible for things that directly impact our province such as energy, education, workplace safety, healthcare, and social services.    

There are a lot of hot button issues on the table right now that impact youth, from unaffordable housing and the post-covid job market to climate change. These are topics that we as young voters need to have our say on. 

In my city, Surrey B.C., there are talks of a new hospital to be built in the Cloverdale area. A new hospital is absolutely necessary to serve one of the fastest growing cities in Metro Vancouver. The NDP have promised that this hospital will be built and recently the BC Liberals stated that they would set aside $300,000 for the project. 

These are the promises and issues that impact us, our families, and our communities and I do not believe for a second that young people don’t care.  

Shattering these misinformed opinions of our generation starts with participation. Young people have a different outlook that long-term voters and politicians may not have. This outlook is what constitutes a diversity of opinions, which is desperately needed at this point in time. 

I was excited to hear about 26-year-old Tesicca Truong running as a NDP candidate in Vancouver-Langara. As a woman of colour, I rarely seen young women entering the political space, and it's inspiring to individuals such as Tesicca taking up space and being heard. 

Witnessing this new wave of young candidates this election cycle gives me hope that we are working towards restructuring the political field, where those usually not seen are being acknowledged. 

Now is not the time to back down from politics and social justice initiatives. In order for young people to be heard we have to be actively using our voice and vote to let those in power know where we stand. 

Vote for the party that aligns with your values. Vote for the candidates that will work hard to reimagine our political system. 

Here’s how: 

Advance Polls: In-person advance voting begging on October 15th and runs until October 21st. Masks are encouraged and single-use pencils will be provided or you can bring your own pencil. Find out more details on the protective measures that will be in place here

Voting Day: You can vote on election day, Saturday, October 24th. Check your Voter Information Card for the location and address, or you can look it up at Elections BC.

District Electoral Office: You can vote any day from now until 4:00pm on October 24th at a district electoral office. Here is the full list of district electoral offices. The offices are open Mondays to Fridays from 9am - 5pm, and on Saturdays from 10am - 4pm.   

Vote by Mail: If you’ve already received your mail-in ballot, it is recommended to send off mail-in-ballots by October 17th. 

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