Grade 9 Reynolds secondary student Mira Blakely stands at the intersection of Quadra and McKenzie where she’s had some ‘interesting conversations’ while soliciting signatures for her petition to lower the B.C. voting age to 16 years old. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Voting at 16? B.C.’s election history is much more colourful than that

City of Victoria to consider lowering voting age to 16

At 14 years old, Grade 9 Reynolds student Mira Blakely has two more years to petition for the lowered voting age if she’s going to be among the first generation of British Columbians to vote at 16.

Though it seems unlikely at this stage, it’s technically possible that Blakely’s petitioning could be part of a successful movement to lower the voting age to 16 in time for the next provincial election, which is on or before Oct. 16, 2021.

The ambitious teen has peddled the idea at busier pockets of the region such as the Cook Street Village and the corner of Quadra and McKenzie. And the results are mixed.

READ MORE: Student Voice: B.C. Should lower voting age to 16

“Some people are interested, some aren’t sure, and others kind of keep walking,” Blakely said.

Such is the life of a streetside solicitor.

“A lot of youth end up disengaged because they don’t have the ability to vote,” Blakely said.

This week the City of Victoria will consider advancing the motion to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities and, from there, to the Union of BC Municipalities, to lower it the age to 16 for all municipal, general elections. It’s timely as Green party leader Andrew Weaver has said he will propose lower the voting age in B.C. to 16 years of age from the current minimum of 18.

It was the NDP who last adjusted the voting age from 19 down to 18 in 1992.

“I think it’s good policy to lower it at all levels, federal, provincial and municipal,” said Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt. “Ideally, the level of civic literacy would be uniformly high. The reality is there are very uneven levels of education and civic responsibility.

“We have older people who don’t vote, and older people who vote but are badly uninformed on issues and their civic responsibility, and need a bigger focus on civic responsibility for all ages.”

READ ALSO: Lowering voting age not as crazy as seems

It starts with lowering the age bracket to include a wider age bracket, Isitt added.

It could be the biggest change in election history since people of colour and certain religions had their voting bans lifted, part of B.C.’s election history.

At one point the rules were so strict only select white men could vote. Not those who worked for the government. Too partisan. When it came to people of colour, well, let’s just say there was even a ban on Hutterites until 1949. Same for First Nations people and Japanese-Canadians. In 1947 voting bans were lifted on Chinese and ‘Hindus.’

Blakely, and Isitt, believe lowering the voting age is next.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Saanich starts feasibility study to reel in new film studio

Facility could be located on Interurban campus of Camosun College

Sooke council pans multiple memorial plaque plan

District should not sell the same bench over and over again, says councillor

Sooke council backs nuclear weapons ban

Mayor believes the municipality’s role includes global issues

Tree downs lines on Highview Street in Victoria

Approximately 3,000 without power in the area

‘Irresponsible’ cigarette tossing blamed for two brushfires on Pat Bay highway

Fires could have started from any of the “dozens” of discarded cigarettes, says chief

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Driver has $240K McLaren impounded minutes after buying it in West Vancouver

Officers clocked the car travelling at 160 km/h along Highway 1 in a 90 km/h zone

RCMP arrest woman in North Island arson investigation

Police say suspects identified, house fire ‘not random’

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Man charged in crash that killed B.C. pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

Most Read