New Brunswick electoral commission recommends lowering voting age to 16

New Brunswick's Commission on Electoral Reform is recommending lowering the voting age to 16 and moving to a system of preferential ballots in the province.

The commission released its final report Friday in Fredericton following four months of gathering input.

Other recommendations include:

  • changing the election date from the fourth Monday in September to the third Monday in October to accommodate more post-secondary students who wish to vote;
  • phasing out political contributions from corporations and trade unions following the 2018 election;
  • allowing students between 16 and 18 years of age to run for public office as long as they have a high school diploma;
  • re-establishing election commitment costing legislation;
  • giving permanent residents who are not yet Canadian citizens the right to vote and seek public office; and
  • more engagement and awareness about the electoral process.

However, the commission says government should not proceed with online voting at this time due to concerns related to security, confidentiality and privacy.

The provincial government made it a campaign promise in 2014 to at least look at such issues.

Premier Brian Gallant says his government needs time to consider the recommendations, but any change in the way people vote would have to be decided through a referendum or election.

During the last federal campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to change the way Canadians cast their ballots in time for the 2019 election.

But the Liberal government has abandoned that idea, arguing consultations on the issue did not produce a consensus on whether to change the status quo as promised, or what should replace the current first-past-the-post voting system.

With files from The Canadian Press