Friday, November 14, 2008

If You are 18 or Older You Can VOTE!

I got this email from one of the candidates in the muncipal election, Joseph Boutilier. You can vote in the local elections at AGE 18, not 19.

Hey Bernard,

I was wondering if I could ask for your assistance in reversing a misconception about voter rights before Saturday. I have asked local media outlets to make a point of this also, but they have failed to report anything despite agreeing with me openly.

As an 18-year-old candidate and someone working to encourage a new generation of young voters to participate in democracy, I am facing an uphill battle. Now I find that I am also contending with a huge inaccuracy that's spreading among voters in Victoria and convincing many eligible young citizens that they cannot, in fact, contribute to the process. Rumors are that you need to be 19, not 18, to cast your
ballot, and that while I may be eligible to run I cannot vote for myself or anyone else. This is simply not true, as clearly stated on the City's own website. I appreciate that this unfortunate idea is most likely accidental and not of any mal-content. In fact, some have said it would be a political advantage for me to be in such a situation for the sake of publicity (although sign-destruction has received roughly 10 times more publicity). Two of the most important thing for me during this election are to encourage new voters and represent the youth of Victoria, and these objectives are not compatible with the kind of confusion we're witnessing at all candidate's meetings and community events regarding age. I spent long enough trying to determine that I was eligible to run while even incumbent councilors and mis-printed city publications suggested I was not. I don't want to spend any more time explaining my right to vote or run. Instead, it's time to to start talking about why I am, and why everyone 18 and over should vote.

Thank you for your attention to this issue. I trust that you will help me spread the word for the sake of our rarest and youngest voters.



Here is the relevant text from the City website:

Resident Elector Qualifications

In order to be eligible to vote as a resident elector on Voting Day you must satisfy all of the following criteria:

  • age 18 or older; and
  • a Canadian citizen; and
  • a resident of British Columbia for at least 6 months immediately before the day of registration; and
  • a resident of the City of Victoria for at least 30 days immediately before the day of registration; and
  • not disqualified by any enactment from voting in an election or otherwise disqualified by law.
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