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More youth engagement needed from politicians: survey

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The results are in from a survey about youth participation during the municipal elections in Grande Prairie last fall.

Conducted by Montreal based non-profit Apathy is Boring, the results of the survey create a picture of what youth voter engagement looks like in our city.

The audit measured the interest and participation of Grande Prairie residents aged 18-30 in the election process.

Executive Director Youri Cormier  says while they don’t have official numbers on youth voter turnout, it can be loosely measured by comparing voter intention, which was 36 per cent, to other trends.

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“By my estimate, it would have been under 15 or even slightly over 10 per cent at the very most, so there’s definitely a lot of work to do. If 85 per cent of youth are opting out of their democracy and 15 per cent of them are opting in, clearly we’ve got a problem that we need to address.”

The city was evaluated and given points for things like civic education, democratic culture, and communication.

Cormier says they’ve drawn up some recommendations based on those points, and answers to questions gauging youth interest in election issues.

“Only 20 per cent of people under the age of 35 said that they were interested in the issues, so again, there has to be a little bit more communication and interaction so that politicians are doing a better job engaging youth on the issues that they care about.”

In a few weeks time City council will receive phase two of the project, which is a four year plan and implementation strategy to hopefully improve youth voter turnout for the next election.

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