Almost three million Canadians under the age of 24 are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, and starting today many in that demographic can exercise their franchise at special polling stations opening on college and university campuses, and at youth and aboriginal centres across the country. 

In a first ever initiative, 70 satellite Elections Canada offices are open for voting Oct. 5 through Oct. 8, including at Simon Fraser University, UBC and the University of Victoria. 

Other locations in B.C. include BCIT, the Kamloops Aboriginal Friendship Society and the Prince George Native Friendship Centre.  

"What's so special about them is that anyone can vote at the special polling stations regardless of what riding they live in, or where they claim home address," said Grace Kennedy, Executive Director of the "Be the Vote", a non-partisan group aimed at fostering youth political engagement.

Kennedy said the goal is to make it simpler for youth to vote. 

campus polling station

Only 39 per cent of voters age 18 - 24 voted in the 2011 federal election. (bethevote.ca)

"Historically the biggest complication for students has been figuring out how they get a piece of ID with their address while they're away at university,` said Kennedy. "So this completely eliminates that barrier."

Voters will cast a "special ballot" meaning they must write the name of their candidate on the ballot instead of marking a circle.

Pre-registration is not necessary and voters can register on-site assuming they have the correct ID.

According to Statistics Canada only 39 per cent of those eligible in the 18- 24-year-old age group voted in the 2011 federal election.