Lower the voting age to 16?

Voter turnout in Surrey’s civic election was just 25 per cent, meaning two-thirds of eligible voters stayed home on election day.

  • Nov. 22, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Voter turnout in Surrey’s civic election was just 25 per cent, meaning two-thirds of eligible voters stayed home on election day.

Participation in elections is dropping at every level, prompting B.C.’s new chief electoral officer to call for lowering the voting age to 16.

Keith Archer released a report earlier this week suggesting the provincial government consider allowing young people to vote while they’re still in high school, something that could be part of the curriculum, providing “a real opportunity to enhance civics education within that group, and to address generally the importance of voting in a democracy.”

Currently, the lowest level of participation is the 18 to 25 group of voters – who are also the fewest registered voters.

Attorney General Shirley Bond said Monday she supports the idea in principle, especially after last Saturday’s municipal elections where fewer than one in three eligible voters took to the polls in many communities.

Archer also recommends the government explore options for electronic voting, something municipal leaders endorsed at their annual convention in September.

– With files from Black Press

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