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Rick Mercer Reminds Canadians They Have One Job To Do On Election Day

"Because voting is a habit, it’s habit-forming. It’s also contagious."

With just over a month to October’s election, Rick Mercer is hitting the university circuit with one message: vote, dammit.

Making a speech at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. on Tuesday, the Canadian comedian told a crowd of students there’s nothing funny about being overlooked by federal politicians.

“I can assure you every single political party in this country, whether they want to or not, every single one of them take it for granted and assume it as fact that young people will not show up to vote in large numbers,” Mercer said.

“We’re all in this together.”

He referenced how the turnout rate is lowest among young Canadians. In 2011, only 38.8 per cent of eligible voters under 24 actually voted.

“Far too many Canadians, they don’t exercise their right to vote,” he said to students. “And far, far too many young Canadians don’t exercise their right to vote.”

The overall national turnout rate lingered around 61 per cent in the last federal election across all demographics — a slight increase from 2008 after more than four decades of slipping voter engagement.

Official turnout rate in federal elections from 1945-2011. Credit: Elections Canada

Elections Canada is also expected to do its own part in encouraging voters to register ahead of time with proper ID and information — something it was nearly barred from doing if the Conservatives’ original version of Bill C-23 passed.

The federal agency is set to launch a new series of ads this week.

Mercer urged students to do something “important” on Oct. 19.

“Because voting is a habit, it’s habit-forming. It’s also contagious. If you vote, we know your friends are more likely to vote,” he said.

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