Mavis Chan (Second from the right), and whyVOTE's marketing team

Why vote? A simple question launched University of Waterloo student, Mavis Chan to set out changing the apathetic attitude carried by her peers. Taking advantage of the entrepreneurial co-op program at the university, Chan began to develop whyVOTE, an app that helps users understand which parties their goals align with based on algorithm generating quizzes.

In the app users will be able to compare their goals with their peers that can lead to sharing of knowledge and perspectives. Data generated from these quizzes will also be sent to policy makers and advocacy groups to give them insight as to how young people vote.  whyVOTE’s Facebook page also encourages political discussions and gives important voter information.

The app is still in its testing phase and Chan hopes to have it released soon. Her goal is that through the app and social media, young voters will have a better understanding of the upcoming elections and how these political promises will affect their future. Ultimately, the plan is to boost young voter turnout.

Through her research Chan said young people are not showing up to the polls because they feel removed from issues and most election topics do not apply to them. Therefore they feel their votes will not make a difference.

In the 2011 federal elections, only 38.8 percent of 18-24 year olds and 45.1 percent of 25-34 year olds voted. In this federal election these age cohorts make up 20 percent of Canada’s entire population. 20 percent of the population can make a colossal difference in an election according to Chan.

Being uninformed is no excuse for young people to not vote says Chan, so get ready young Canadians.


Naomi Roy is an artist and a fourth year Planning student at the University of Waterloo. 

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