Voting instead of protesting

Young Parksville man cast a ballot last week; in the past he has protested the fact he could not vote as someone under the age of 18

Nick Peters won’t need to picket outside polling places in future.

You likely won’t see Nick Peters standing outside a polling booth with a protest sign in his hands any time soon.

You might, however, find his name on the ballot inside one day.

Peters, along with friend Brian Hannay, has picketed polling places in the last federal election and the latest municipal vote. His message? He wanted to be able to vote.

That wasn’t possible in the last two elections, because both Peters and Hannay were too young to vote. That changed this week, when both Parksville residents exercised their franchise for the first time.

“I found it really annoying to hear the politicians talking about how youths don’t vote, because I very much wanted to vote,” Peters said. “People said I have no life experience, but I work full time, I go to school and I pay taxes. I am a Canadian citizen and I was raised right here.”

With his 18th birthday safely behind him, Peters took the opportunity for early voting, casting his ballot at the same Baptist church he picketed during the federal election on the second day the advance polls were open.

“It was a bit weird, he said. “I walked in there and the person asked if I was actually old enough. They looked at me like they had never seen a teenager before.”

Regardless, he found the experience of voting to be uplifting.

“It was nice,” he said. “I feel like I actually sent a message.”

He said there’s no doubt he will be exercising his franchise in every federal, provincial and municipal election that comes along, but he hopes one day to go further.