VICTORIA, B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, B.C. Green Party spokesperson for electoral reform and MLA for Cowichan Valley, delivered a petition to extend voting rights to 16 and 17 year-olds on behalf of her constituent Simon Minkow, a 14 year-old advocate for the issue. The B.C. Green Caucus supports making the change, with Leader Andrew Weaver having twice introduced Private Members Bills on the issue.
“It is an honour to deliver Simon’s petition to the B.C. Legislature,” said Furstenau.
“Simon’s keen engagement in our democratic process is a prime example of why this change is the right thing to do. The decisions we make today will have a major impact on young people. They are fully capable of making informed voting choices. This change would make politicians more accountable to consider their interests and make decisions that will provide them with a bright future.”
16 and 17 year-olds have been given the right to vote in countries across the world, including Scotland, Argentina, Austria and Brazil. Minkow’s petition has been signed by more than 400 students from various schools in the Cowichan Valley.
“Lowering the voting age would give youth a voice and the legal leverage we need to take issues forward,” added Minkow, who is a grade 8 student at the Quamichan Campus of Cowichan Secondary.
“A lot of youth don’t feel respected by society, but we have an important perspective to offer and should have a say in what happens to schools, for example. Allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote would be good for democracy. It’s a good age for schools and parents to educate new voters and get them engaged in issues that matter to them. There would also be greater voter turnout because the earlier you start voting the more likely you’ll be a voter for life.”
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