35 and under voters could be key in Monday’s election

The long and winding campaign trail will arrive at its destination Monday evening, when the final votes are cast in Canada’s 43 federal election.

Those who haven’t voted at an advance poll will have their final opportunity to cast their ballot and exercise their democratic right, (make that responsibility), up till 9:30 p.m. here in Ontario.

The mud-slinging, name calling, deflecting and occasional outlining of policy is complete and the leaders have made their final pitch to convince Canadians they belong in Ottawa. Barring a major 11th hour bombshell, those tasked with finding dirt on the leaders haven’t been able to uncover anything too earth shattering. A handful of photos of the current prime minister engaging in an outdated practice of wearing blackface from 18 years ago, and the discovery that his major competitor Andrew Scheer fudged his resume credentials and holds dual citizenship. The rest of the candidates have remained scandal free for the most part, though perhaps that’s because the brightest spotlights have been shone upon the top two colts in the two-horse race for prime minister.

That’s not to say the other parties won’t play a role in the final elected government, even if landing the job of leader of the country appears to be limited to Liberal or Conservative. Just this last week alone the NDP have made major gains, and could very well make up a signifigant part of a minority government.

A common theme among those who choose to stay home on election night, rather than taking 20 minutes or so to mark an ‘X’, is that their vote doesn’t matter. If the 2015 election is any indication, that’s simply not the case.

Here in Lennox and Addington County, Liberal MP Mike Bossio won his seat by less than 300 votes over incumbent Daryl Kramp of the Conservatives. If just a dozen or so people from each polling station had decided to stay home, or perhaps took the time to get out and vote, the results could have been much different.

On the national scale, political experts are predicting a similarly tight race across the county. Polls have shown little movement throughout campaign between the top two, with different organizations predicting very different outcomes, some favouring Scheer, others Justin Trudeau.

The difference may actually come down to the youth vote. According to Abacus, a research and strategy firm that studies voting statistics, this election will mark the first time that people born between 1980 and 2000 will make up the largest block of eligible voters. That means should 35-and-unders choose to vote, they’ll have a major say in the outcome of Monday’s election. As an aside, it’s also somewhat staggering to think someone born in the year known as Y2K is now old enough to vote.

Their views and wants in a government could be very different than those of their parents or grandparents. If enough of them show up, they’ll have a major say in who represents them.

Regardless of birth year, for anyone 18 or older, make sure to get out and vote.

-Adam Prudhomme

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