Elections NWT launches contest to galvanize young voters

Fewer than 20 per cent of 18-year-olds voted in the last Northwest Territories election.

Fewer than 20 per cent of 18-year-olds voted in the last Northwest Territories election

Yellowknife rapper Aaron Hernandez, known as Godson, is part of a contest encouraging young people to get out and vote in the next N.W.T. election (X It Youth Music Contest / Facebook)

Fewer than 20 per cent of 18-year-olds voted in the last Northwest Territories election. With a little more than a year to go before the next one, the territory's top election official is doing something about it.

Elections NWT is looking for young people to pitch their ideas for a music project that would get their friends to go out and vote.

Just 112 of the 600 18-year-olds in the territory registered to vote in the 2015 territorial election, explained Nicole Latour, the N.W.T.'s chief electoral officer. That's an 18 per cent registration rate.

Latour says it's a problem that's been going on for years and a "significant deficit" that needs to be addressed. It's why she started the "X It" youth music project.

The project is calling on 16- to 24-year-olds in the N.W.T. to submit a form about why young people should vote. Part of that is submitting an essay, poem, song or a rap.

The prize is making a music video with Yellowknife-rapper Aaron Hernandez, known as Godson.   

"There's no initiative out there for the North for this particular topic," Hernandez said. "I'm always up for getting the younger voters, the younger voices out there, just to let everybody know that we are important."

Hernandez will be working with the youth to produce, write and develop the music video. There isn't a set song or video in mind at the moment because he wants to see what the applicants bring to the table.

"My job is to make sure that everybody says their piece and the message is broadcasted equally to every region," Hernandez said. "The end goal is to get the message out that youth voters are needed."

Latour and Hernandez hope to have the music video done by the fall so they can play it for a full year before the next general election in October 2019.     

Anyone interested in applying can find out more about the project on Facebook or go down to your local youth centre to get a paper copy.

The deadline for submission is July 15.


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