This Isn’t Your Grandmother’s Election

University of Guelph Vote Mob. Credit: Yvonne Su

No disrespect to your grandmothers and grandfathers (they do their civic duty every few years), but this election, the narrative isn’t about them. It’s 2011 and the election that started with the typical back and forth political spin between major parties and Elizabeth May shouting from the sidelines has taken a new direction. Suddenly, it’s energetic, engaged, and including a whole demographic of voters of whom in recent elections have usually been withdrawn from the political process. While the Tories claimed this was an election that no one wanted, it’s being turned on its head by the growing movement of “Vote Mobs” across the country. At 35 universities and counting, hundreds of youth are taking to their campuses and producing videos to share with the rest of their country. The message is simple: Youth are voting.

Days into the campaign, youth-related stories began to take hold in the media. From the student who was refused entry into a Harper rally because of her Facebook profile, the surprise welcome by University of Guelph students at Harper and Ignatieff campaign events, and the numerous Vote Mobs being planned through social media, students have started to take over the direction of the campaign. Groups like LeadNow, a new organization run by Canadians of all ages, have facilitated these vote mobs, many of which were inspired by Rick Mercer’s Rant. Mercer stated: “If you’re between the ages of 18 and 24, and you want to scare the hell out of the people who run the country, do the unexpected, take 20 minutes out of your day and do what young people the world over are dying to do, Vote!”

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