Non-Partisan Campaign Helps Teens Shift Their Parents’, Grandparents’ Voting Priorities
A Toronto mother and entrepreneur has launched CoVote, a non-partisan effort to help teenagers shift their parents’ and grandparents’ perspective on their vote in this month’s federal election.
“CoVote is a simple idea,” Victoria Bell told CBC. “The idea is that voting-age adults have a conversation with someone who is not yet of legal age to talk to them about what the impact of their choice is on the young person, and to make a commitment to vote in that way that protects that young person’s future vis-a-vis the climate.”
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
Bell traced the idea back to a dinner table conversation of her own, at a family gathering during last year’s provincial election in Ontario. “Her father, in his 80s, discussed the election with one of her daughters, Lily, then 17,” CBC recounts. “Her dad said he didn’t want to vote because he believes all politicians are crooks and her daughter, desperate to vote, asked if he could vote for her.”
“A little bell went off in my head and I thought, ‘There’s something in that,’” Bell recalled.
“Ballots are secret, so I have no idea what they actually conspired to do,” she added. But “it did occur to me that if I really listened to non-voting age teens and people I cared about in my life, it would make a difference in how I voted. I wanted to create an opportunity for those conversations to happen between older voters and younger people who are feeling disenfranchised.”
She stressed the project is set up to foster conversations, not to tell anyone which candidate or party to support.
“I’m certainly not here to tell you how to vote,” she told CBC. But “the decisions that we make on [October 21] will have a long-term impact on the young people in our lives. And I think we have a responsibility and an opportunity to share that impact with them.”
Bell’s 15-year-old daughter, Piper Boyd Bell, said she’s all in favour of the project.
“I thought it was really interesting,” she said. “Right now, the social climate around politics is shifting more toward the younger generation as we get more involved. I think that’s a really healthy and important thing. At the end of the day, it is our future. It is the world that we are going to be living in when we grow up.”