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

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

Stop work order at Sooke salmon hatchery devastates volunteers

CRD steps in as some volunteers give up their efforts

Belgian man searches for family of fallen First World War soldier from Victoria

Mark Edward Berton attended Victoria High School and has his grave in Flanders Field

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

Sidney Museum’s Chief Dan George exhibition sees surge of interest

Four mayors, federal Green leader, Tsartlip reps to attend June 21 opening ceremony

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

SOOKE HISTORY: Pemberton Pool namesake remains a mystery

Historian believes it was possibly named after surveyor Joseph Despard Pemberton

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Most Read