Sixteen year-old proud to cast historic vote
Taylor Kember just celebrated her 16th birthday – a big milestone in any teenager’s life. It’s also a Canadian milestone as she will be one of the first-ever 16 and 17-year-olds registered to vote in electoral reform plebiscite this fall.
“I want to vote,” the effervescent grade 11 Grace Christian School student said. “As teenagers and younger people, we always look forward to getting to do what older people do."
“We have opinions and things that matter to us – so I think that’s really exciting.”
The vote will be held online and by telephone from October 29 to November 7, and polling stations will be open November 4 and 5 for voters who prefer paper ballots. Younger voters are included in the plebiscite because they will be eligible to vote in the next provincial election.
Kember and her classmates spent a free school period recently hearing from Elections PEI about the five options on their first voting ballot – which can be cast online or on paper. Until the presentation at her school, she had no idea that she and other 16 and 17 year-olds would have the chance to vote this November on something as important as changing the way we elect our leaders.
“It’s nice we can all have our opinions count,” she said.
It may surprise some that PEI is leading the country in changing the voting age for the first time. Our typically high voter turnout and connectness makes PEI a natural place for this type of innovation.
Kember listens to the radio and thinks about news and politics during her long morning commute from her family’s Summerside home to Grace Christian in Charlottetown. Having voted in school elections, she says the qualities she desires in a student council president are the same ones she will seek in an elected member of the provincial legislature.
“I want someone who is confident and clear on what they would offer – someone who could give me what I want and what’s best for our school.”
Kember is looking to a future in the medical field. She enjoys reading, kayaking and volunteering at Camp Seggie.
She will make sure she’s fully informed, share the word, and register to cast her vote this November.