Friday, February 13, 2009

Why the kids don't vote - Gauntlet

Gauntlet Features - Why the kids don't vote:

Researchers are saying that low voter engagement is not a new phenomenon. In fact, turnout has been dropping in Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and France. A 2003 joint study conducted by Carleton University, the University of Toronto and Elections Canada found that only 22 per cent of 18-20 year olds voted in the 2000 federal election. The study found that electoral participation numbers dropped consistently as the age group grew younger. In fact, the single most effective determinant for whether a person voted was their age. More troubling, the study found that successive generations of voters were less likely to vote than their once-young counterparts were when in the youngest age bracket.

If in the past young people were less likely to become involved in community and national politics than their 30- and 40-year-old counterparts, today they are much less likely to be involved, so the gap between younger people and their older counterparts has grown,' says Dr. Keith Archer, a U of C professor and expert on electoral politics.

Why aren't we voting?

Archer notes that the demographic trend could be due to modern living conditions. Prospective voters in the 18-to-25-year-old range often live away from their home constituency or travel for work or school, so they don't establish the same ties to their community that older voters with kids or mortgages have.

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