Ottawa youth set to vote

SEE VIDEO http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/10/05/ottawa-youth-set-to-vote

Debates are over, candidates are anxious, voters are searching for their registration cards — let the democratic process begin.

Wednesday will be the first time Olivia Jones votes.

Jones turned 18 last December and says she didn’t participate in the spring federal election.

Jones hails from the Greater Toronto Area and moving to Ottawa has her engaged in politics “because I see more of what’s going on,” she said.

An estimated 38,301 votes were cast at advance polls in Ottawa and across Ontario turnout was up more than 173,000 compared to the last election in 2007.

Casandra Elinord didn’t vote in advance.

The east-end resident will be heading to the ballot box for the first time, too.

“I’m planning to vote because I think it’s about time that I will try to make a change,” said Elinord.

Across town, Hanah Takerer will be lining up in Ottawa Centre.

“I’m pretty decided — got to do a little more research — but I’m going to vote,” she said.

That’s not the case for everyone.

Robert Cloutier was planning to vote, but “I’m going to be taking a trip to Hamilton. I won’t be able to vote in my riding.”

On the other hand, Khaled Teriaky just isn’t interested.

“Honestly, I believe in the whole thing … one vote doesn’t really make a difference,” he said.

But one vote could decide the tight races expected in Ottawa Centre, Ottawa West-Nepean, and Carleton-Mississippi Mills.

And Carleton University political science professor Jon Pammett will be watching closely to see if Ontario voters decide to maintain the status quo.

“You could go back to the last federal election, for that matter, and consider the fact that there have been quite a few re-elections … very few governments overthrown,” he said.

Manitoba’s New Democratic Party scored a historic fourth majority government Tuesday, a pattern that could be repeated by the Liberals in Ontario.

“This may be a result of difficult economic times when incumbent governments are able to portray, particularly a serious economic situation, as beyond their control,” said Pammett.

“And therefore, the safest bet is to stick with the people you know who portray themselves as good economic managers. That may be a factor that’s at play in a number of places.”

In Ontario, roughly 8.8 million eligible voters will have their say on Oct. 6.

For more information on where to vote, visit wemakevotingeasy.ca or Elections Ontario 1-888-668-8683.

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