Council votes to support request for province to consider lowering voting age
Published Tuesday, August 23, 2016 6:14PM MDT
Last Updated Tuesday, August 23, 2016 7:06PM MDT
After a heated debate at City Hall Tuesday, Edmonton’s City Council voted to support the city’s Youth Council request for the province to consider lowering the voting age for those voting in civic elections.
Councillors debated the idea Tuesday morning – Edmonton’s Youth Council has floated a proposal to ask the Alberta government to lower the voting age in civic elections to 16-years-old, from 18.
Some councillors saw the suggestion as a positive, that would benefit the population, but others suggested there wasn’t enough consultation into the idea.
The debate resulted in a tight vote, seven to six, in favour of suggesting the change.
The vice-chair of Edmonton’s Youth Council said the consultation should come at the level of government with the power to change the voting age.
“It’s a policy change at the provincial level, so the consultation then logically should be at the provincial level,” Cameron Somerville said.
The City has no power to change the voting age, but the province does. The Youth Council has asked for the province to review the voting age in municipal elections, the City will now send a letter to support the province’s consideration of changing the voting age.
The ministry released a statement Tuesday in response to the developments in City Hall.
“Allowing 16-year-olds the right to vote in municipal elections would require legislative amendment to the Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA). Such an amendment could take many forms, however, it is important to note that this issue has come up just recently and that further analysis and consultation will be required before any policy decisions are made by the Government of Alberta. Given this, it would be inappropriate to entertain hypotheticals at this time until further analysis and consultation has been completed.”
The next step is for Youth Council to meet with Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee in September.
With files from Shanelle Kaul