Youth vote important part of future democracy

The large number of citizens attending last week’s All Candidates’ Meeting at Keremeos’ Victory Hall last week was, as incumbent Alex Atamanenko put it, “ a sign that democracy was alive and well in the Similkameen.”

One of the largest audiences for a political event in Victory Hall for several years, the turnout will hopefully translate into a strong turnout at the ballot box come May 2.

One troubling aspect of the attendance, however, was the nearly complete absence of the younger vote – in this case, say, below 35 to 40 years of age.

There doesn’t seem to be much problem getting seniors and retirees to sit up and take notice – but the lack of youthful interest in the political process can’t be a good thing for the democratic future of this country,  or the nation’s up and coming generations.

Traditionally, rural areas enjoy a stronger turnout to the ballot box than in more urban areas – the last election in October, 2008 saw a higher than average turnout in the BC Southern Interior than the rest of the country; judging by the turnout last Wednesday, this statistic should repeat itself.

Unfortunately, for the young people not engaged, it looks as though the valley will continue to be shaped by a demographic whose relevance, with respect to other facets of western culture, is already considered to be on the wane.

If they aren’t careful, tomorrow’s generation may wind up finding themselves in a political situation that does very little to serve their needs.

With voter participation sitting at a level of around 61 per cent, it’s erroneous to think that a single vote doesn’t mean anything. It means a great deal – and it doesn’t take that  much time to cast a ballot.

We hope that every eligible voter in the valley makes the effort on May 2.