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Tyee readers offer their remedies for wan young voter turnout

Voter turnout in the under-30 age group is the lowest in British Columbia. It's become such a concern that organizations have sprung up around the cause and candidates have made dedicated efforts at attracting the young vote.

In The Tyee's latest Barometer poll, we asked: What's the best way to increase youth voter engagement? We thought our readers might have some suggestions. Nearly 500 of you did.

The most popular option was improving civic education in the high school curriculum, followed by placing polling stations at postsecondary institutions.

Half of the respondents under the age of 35 thought instituting electronic voting would also help boost participation. While some of those over 35 agreed, a small margin thought making voting mandatory was the more effective option.

Less popular solutions included changing the fixed election date to fall early in the academic year, lowering the voting age to 16 and making Provincial Election Day a statutory holiday.

Readers also submitted over 160 suggestions of their own.

Electoral reform that sees the elimination of the first-past-the-post system was a popular recommendation.

So, too, was changing the culture of politics: readers wanted to see a move away from negative discourse and party conflicts. Some even suggested dissolving the party system altogether.

They also thought that reducing corruption in government and holding politicians more accountable once in office for what they said they would do during elections might encourage more young voters.

Making election issues more relatable to people under 30 would help as well, wrote some commentators, in addition to parental encouragement, tax incentives, and monetary punishments for registered voters who failed to show up to the polling stations.

As one reader pointed out, these suggestions don't just apply to young voters; turnout has been decreasing across age groups for decades.

The Tyee publishes a new Barometer poll every week. Currently, we're asking readers for their thoughts on income inequality. We'd love to hear from you.

Natascia Lypny is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

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