There are still 2 weeks left in the Federal Election campaign, and anything can happen, but I’m ready to make a bold prediction.
On May 2, as the ballots are counted across Canada, the twitterverse will light up with comments on the surprising election results. The pundits will wonder how they misread public sentiment, the pollsters will quietly muse that their numbers were completely wrong, and everyone will point to a single reason – they were wrong to assume young people wouldn’t vote.
On May 2, I predict voter turnout will rise for the first time in my voting lifetime, largely because young people will show up in higher numbers then they have before. Media will go nuts and write many stupid articles about the “Facebook Generation” and the effect of social media on politics. Politicians will be forced to recognize the political power of young people and create laws that finally deal with the issues important to them. And Canada will get a parliament that isn’t so damn Conservative.
How likely is this to happen? Well it happened last year in the Calgary Mayoral election, when young people came out in large numbers to elect Naheed Nenshi, who ran a campaign largely driven by social media. And the threat of young people actually voting is scary enough to Conservative supporters that they freaked out when 700 University of Guelph students showed up to vote early. In response to Rick Mercer’s Vote plea, groups of students across the country have been organizing Vote Mobs, complete with catchy youtube videos. There will even be a Superhero Vote Mob in Vancouver on April 22.
So, maybe there is a chance for change. It’s time to show the country we have a voice. Please get out and vote!