The Hon. Stephen McNeil
On behalf of the Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia, I’m writing to encourage you to call Nova Scotia’s next election for mid to late October 2017, with a campaign period running through September and October. Such timing would be consistent with the most recent municipal and Federal elections.
Youth and students are historically underrepresented in the voter turnout of provincial elections. Post-secondary students are often a highly transient population that face many barriers to voting in municipal, provincial and federal elections, including the lack of standard forms of identification and proof of residence. This gives cause for many politicians, government officials, and other decision-makers to ignore students and youth as an important constituency because they do not fear their impact at the ballot box.
However, low student and youth participation in elections is not reflective of political apathy or disengagement, as evidenced by the high level of youth and student involvement in volunteerism, community service, and advocacy campaigns. As I hope you appreciate, establishing voting habits in youth and students is an important aspect of developing a civic culture of voting that extends throughout a lifetime. Therefore, increasing student and youth voter turn-out in municipal, provincial, and federal elections should be a public priority and all levels of government must work to reduce barriers between students and the ballot box.
As a representative of post-secondary students across Nova Scotia, I implore yourself and your government to hold elections in the fall when the majority of students are attending class on campus. I hope you take this opportunity to demonstrate the Nova Scotia Liberal’s commitment to supporting civic engagement amongst students and youth in our province.
Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia