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Just Getting Started: There’s no reason for high-schoolers not to vote

Angèle Hatton
Angèle Hatton - Contributed

By Angèle Hatton

TRURO, N.S. —

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hi, my name is Angèle Hatton. I am a grade 12 student at Cobequid Educational Centre who hopes to pursue journalism as a career, so I put myself out there and asked for a chance to write for the Truro News. Now here I am, on a mission to make news more accessible to people my age. 

The next federal election, on Oct. 21, is creeping up, and with the 2001-02 school birthday cutoff, many grade 12 students will turn 18 prior to that date and the issue of voting is one that should be on our minds. 
If you’ve recently turned 18 though, you have other, perhaps more important things to think about. Grad pictures, prom dates… What’s gonna happen next year? Will I make friends in university or be a friendless loser? I get it, I really do. Voting, however, is something that is important, not just right now, but for the rest of our lives. 
Whether you like it or not, the government and politics keep our country running. If you want a say in who runs the show and how, you must vote. There is no way you are allowed to complain about what’s happening in your country if you are eligible to vote and you just don’t! There’s no reason not to – except laziness – which is a pretty embarrassing reason. 
Now that I’ve convinced you your life will be incomplete without voting I will answer the “how” question. When this is published it will be two days past the online voter registration deadline. However, there’s no need to be stressed! You can register right before you vote at your assigned polling station. Any other information you need to vote, like a list of candidates in your region (if you live in Truro, Valley, Bible Hill, or the Onslow area you are in the Cumberland-Colchester riding) and their platforms, where your assigned polling stations are, based on your address, and what ID to bring with you can all be found here: https://www.elections.ca 
If you’re in need of more convincing, I bring you to some statistics, that can be found here: https://www.elections.ca/content.aspx?section=res&dir=rec/eval/pes2015/vtsa&document=table1&lang=e).
In the 2015 Canadian election, first-time voters aged 18 to 24 had a voter turnout of 58.3 per cent, as opposed to a turnout of 78.8 per cent of voters aged 65 to 74. That is over 20 per cent more people! The number one reason that issues concerning predominantly younger people are often overlooked in politics is that there are not enough young people out there voting. 
Eighteen-year-olds need to be voting to ensure they are starting off on the right foot. Start voting at this age so you can gain some experience in caring about politics and don’t become someone who only begins voting at age 30-plus! 
If you care about what happens to your country, you’ll vote. Plain and simple. After school on Monday, Oct. 21, grab your driver’s licence and take a trip with your parents to go and vote. Make a whole thing out of it, let your mom make a Facebook post.
“Baby’s first ballot!” has a nice ring to it, no?
 

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