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Future Majority aimed to mobilize youth vote ahead of Monday’s poll

September 23, 2021   ·   0 Comments

Getting out the vote is critical in any election campaign.

It might seem like a daunting task to many community organizers, but for Future Majority, a non-partisan non-profit designed to “build power amongst young Canadians” and get them to exercise that power at the ballot box, it’s simpler than you might think: it’s all about starting a conversation.

This was one of the principles Future Majority volunteers kept in mind as they fanned out throughout Newmarket-Aurora and Aurora-Oak Ridges-Richmond Hill last week to engage young potential voters.

“Young Canadians are an interesting age group in that we’re politically aligned on most of the issues we care about,” says Future Majority’s Camellia Wong. “We heard time and time again that, one, climate change is a major concern and the data backs that up. We saw an Abacus poll come out that showed that 91 per cent of young Canadians are concerned about climate change and young Canadians are aligned on issues we care about, whether that is climate change, affordability, racial justice or mental health.

“Secondly, when you have someone that you know, that you trust, speaking to you in a language you understand, you are way more likely to trust them and get out to vote. Are you more likely to get out to vote because a family member is speaking to you about the issues that are impacting them and why it is critical for you to come out and vote, or are you going to be more convinced by a political party running a digital ad telling you to vote? It is always going to be the former and that is [one] way we’re trying to foster that trust.”

In strategizing their efforts to get out the vote, Future Majority looked at a number of past election examples, including the most recent US Presidential Election. That election brought out a record number of young voters and Future Majority found that that could be attributed largely to “relational organizing tactics.”

“You are getting young Canadians to speak with their friends or their families on issues that are important and why it is critical to vote,” says Wong. “When you have someone that you know and trust telling you to vote, you’re way more likely to head out to the polls. As an organization, we are using [strategies] like in-person canvassing, which we did in the Aurora area, and we’re also using phone banking, peer-to-peer texting, and a tactic called ‘vote tripling’ where you have a likely voter and get them to reach out to three of their friends and family to make a plan to vote.”

Making a plan to vote is critical before any election, Wong says. This includes making sure voters knew where to go to vote, what to bring with them, and candidates on the ballot.

Speaking ahead of Monday’s Federal Election, Wong said young Canadians were “more engaged than ever” on the issues this time around, and that is reflective of the challenging time we’re currently living in.

“We have seen in the past year-and-a-half that young Canadians got very engaged in politics for a number of reasons, but climate change has been a major issue on our minds,” said Wong. “The other thing is we have experienced a bit of a reckoning as a generation where there are so many historical wrongs that need to be righted, whether it is the Black Lives Matter movement, whether it is finding the graves of Indigenous children. There are a lot of issues on the ballot box that we really care about and, in 2015, it was the same thing. In 2019, it was the same thing. We know historically there are issues that matter to Canadians. They will come out and vote and this is an opportunity to voice our concerns, push for change, and make sure that our questions are heard loud and clear. When we say we want action on the most critical issues of our time, we want that action now.”

Now that the election is over, the Future Majority will not be sitting back and waiting for that action to happen. Although they made sure their concerns were heard before voters went to the polls, they will continue to press for action as well as increased voter engagement.

“Back in the Spring, we ran a campaign where we met with thousands of politicians about mental health,” says Wong. “It was a cross-partisan campaign where we met with politicians of all political stripes, talking to them about the importance of accessible and affordable mental health care. The same thing will happen after this campaign: we will speak with our membership about the issues that matter most to them. For us, it is really about representing the voices of young Canadians, making sure that they are able to build up political power, and then we will continually reach out to politicians, continually speak about the issues Canadians care about, and amplifying the voices of our membership as well.”

By Brock Weir
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



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