According to Elections Canada, the 18-24 age group had the lowest voter turnout in the 2019 federal election at 53.9 per cent.
Comparatively, those aged 65-74 had the highest turnout at 79.1 per cent.
Lars Hallstrom, a political science professor at the University of Lethbridge and director of the Prentice Institute, said there are several contributing factors to those numbers.
While the overall voter turnout has increased over the last decade, he said younger people are still falling behind.
“If you’re not working, you’re quite likely to be at university or college, which may prevent a very simple structural barrier to voting. There may not be voting stations on campus, for example.”
Read more: Canada election results: Lethbridge
Hallstrom explained the older population likely has more time on their hands while the middle demographics are more inclined to have their schedules set.
“Many people who are in their 30s or 40s or 50s have a fairly consolidated routine,” he explained. “The nature of employment is different. They’re not as likely to be working in a gig economy. They’re not as likely to be juggling multiple jobs or multiple jobs and school.”
Ryan Lindblad, vice-president of external affairs with the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union, said the organization is trying to encourage as many students as possible to cast their ballots.
“We actually had a bus that was running students to the Elections Canada office,” he said. “The great advantage of that is when you vote in an Elections Canada office, you can essentially vote anywhere in Canada as long as you can prove you have a residency there.
The ULSU held a candidate forum on Tuesday evening, which only saw two out of six local candidates attend: Devon Hargreaves with the Liberal party and independent Kim Siever.
Despite the lower candidate attendance, Lindblad was happy with the student participation.
“We were able to get a lot of engagement from both students who were attending in person, as well as some online questions from students who were watching it via our Facebook feed,” he said. “I think it was overall a really great experience for students to be able to interact with some of the candidates.”
“Getting people started is really important because it lays the foundation for voting throughout subsequent demographic phases,” Hallstrom said.
President of the Association of Political Science Students Samantha Scott said it’s unfortunate there won’t be voting on campus this year, as some students seem to feel apathy and that their vote won’t matter.
“I think that a lot of campaigns are not necessarily campaigning towards younger people, and so the issues they feel don’t affect them as much,” Scott said.
“I do know that people have problems getting informed about stuff, and they just kind of don’t care, which sucks because we are the future,” she added.
“We’re the ones who have the potential to make a change.”