British Columbia

Election 2015: How five millennials in B.C. are working to get out the youth vote

With the federal election campaign officially kicked into high gear, many young Canadians are taking steps to make sure their peers vote on October 19th.

'One vote can make the difference and we need to make sure that young Canadians understand that'

Young Canadians are working to increase the youth voter turn out in this election. ((ITU Pictures/Flickr))

The federal election campaign has officially kicked off and many young Canadians are also campaigning to try and convince voters in their generation to head to the polls Oct. 19.

During the last election, the youth vote only reached 38 per cent for 18 to 24 year olds across the country. That's a trend these five millennials want to see reversed.

Some parties are adopting specific strategies, while others are relying primarily on face-to-face interaction to entice young voters. 

Elinor McNamee-Annett 

Lead campus organizer at the Council of Canadians

Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Age: 23

Elinor McNamee-Annett is one of the many young Canadians choosing to get involved by joining non-partisan groups.

Elinor McNamee-Annett is the lead campus organizer at the Council of Canadians. (Elinor McNamee-Annett)

At the Council of Canadians, McNamee-Annett is working to target key ridings, where she is trying to get young Canadians to better understand how they can be game-changers in this election.

She is preparing for the "Storm the Dorm" event which will take place on university campuses across Canada in September, where she will meet with students face-to-face to educate them about the election. 

For McNamee-Annett, it isn't about convincing young voters to vote for a specific party, but to provide them with a guide about all party platforms.

"I think that naming my generation as apathetic is a mischaracterization," said McNamee-Annett. 

"It's my job to try and change that political awareness into a vote."

Justin Kaiser 

President of the Young Liberals of Canada

Location: Vancouver, B.C.

Age: 23

Justin Kaiser has been campaigning to get the youth vote out since last September when the Young Liberals launched their Commit to Vote campaign.

Justin Kaiser is the president of the Young Liberals of Canada. (Justin Kaiser)

The Liberals asked young Canadians to sign a voting pledge and also broadened their digital engagement with voters.

So far, Kaiser says he views the results as promising. The party has gathered more than 6,000 signatures across university campuses, and that doesn't take into consideration online registrations, which Kaiser says will make this number a lot higher.

"One vote can make the difference and we need to make sure that young Canadians understand that," said Kaiser.

"Too often issues that young Canadians care about aren't mentioned."

Chelsea Cameron 

Ccampaign volunteer at the Conservative Party of Canada

Location: Surrey, B.C.

Age: 27

Chelsea Cameron is a young conservative currently volunteering on the re-election campaign of Kerry-Lynne Findlay in Delta, B.C.

Chelsea Cameron is a campaign volunteer on Kelly-Lynn Findlay's re-election campaign. (Chelsea Cameron)

Cameron says the party hasn't adopted any specific strategies to target the youth vote in B.C. or across Canada.

But she does believe social media provides young Canadians with an increased opportunity to connect to the issues this election, and hopefully this will inspire them in the process. 

"The party doesn't look at how to capture the ethnic vote, the LGBT vote, the seniors vote. We look at how we can capture voters as a whole," said Cameron.

"We want to target everyone, whether it's at a community event or door-to-door."

Cameron hopes this extended election campaign will mobilize individuals, including Canadian youth, to get out and vote.

Angela Liu

Co-chair Young NDP in B.C.

Location:Vancouver, B.C.

Age: 25

Angela Liu is the co-chair of the Young NDP in B.C. (Angela Liu)

As part of the Young NDP, Angela Liu has been focusing her efforts on canvassing and outreach, speaking to Canadians on university campuses and across the province.

Over the years, she has noticed that many young Canadians care more about issues but remain apathetic about the political parties themselves.

But this election Liu has witnessed a growing sense of excitement and engagement of young people, although she remains worried about how the longer election period will affect young voter apathy.

"This election is about change and if that's what they want to see they should go out and vote for that," said Liu.

Tessa Owens

Canvassing coordinator at the Green Party of Canada

Location: Langford, B.C.

Age: 18

Tessa Owens has been volunteering with the Green Party of Canada since she was 14. 

Now Owens trains volunteers on how to be successful when going door-to-door.

Tessa Owens is a canvassing coordinator at the Green Party of Canada. (Tessa Owens)

She's noticed that young people tend to be more cautious about the idea of voting and that some first-time voters like herself haven't considered how much of an impact their vote can have.

Connecting with her peers about the need for climate change action is her strategy to bring about the change she wants to see.

"I'm hoping that there is still some worthwhile undertaking to being involved within the system to fix the system, and I think being involved in politics is the best way to do that,"​ said Owens.