Young voters, many with their parents, strolled steadily into the Churchill Meadows Library in Mississauga to vote for their Ward 10 councillor, school board trustee and mayor. Among them was 19-year-old Adam Elmongy, who found his first municipal election voting process easy.

Elmongy did his own research before voting and said he looked for candidates who had plans to develop new projects. He said a good example was current Mississauga Ward 10 Coun. Sue McFadden, who made the long-awaited Churchill Meadows Community Centre a reality this past term and a new plaza nearby. There is more that can be done, he said, but the centre was a good start.

Masooma Kazmi, 27, and her brother Muhammad, 19, also voted with their parents on election day. “It took less than a minute and both the management and system was very good,” Masooma said.”

While these young voters took time out of their day to vote, Muhammad said his friends don’t bother. “It’s not really their thing,” he said. Both he and his sister, however, feel voting is a responsibility and duty as a Canadian.

Elmongy echoed this sentiment, saying he encourages his peers to vote.

Masooma and Muhammad got their candidates' information from their father, who gave them the run-down of each person to make an informed vote.

Although they drew their candidate information differently, all three of these young voters said they hope the newly elected candidate will focus on equality in the community, among other things.

“Treating everyone the same, not having any scandals” is something Elmongy looks for, hoping the winner will do a good job and help the community to make it better for everybody.

While many people couldn’t stop to talk, taking the time to vote between errands, Hamza Bajwa, 23, a Ward 10 councillor candidate, was also there voting at the polling station.

As the 2022 Ontario municipal election took place on Oct. 24, young voters filled their ballots for councillor, school board trustee and mayor.

Bajwa said he feels good now that his campaign has come to a close, receiving a good reaction from people in the community.

Although, Bajwa found the voting process not accessible — mentioning how other municipalities have online voting. “It’s a bit too difficult in Mississauga,” he said. Pointing especially to local government, Bajwa said people don’t turn out to vote like they do in federal elections, which is why there is so much to be done to improve the municipal voting process.

In the 2018 municipal election, The Mississauga News reported a voter turnout of 27 per cent.

Bajwa also mentioned how election day fell on Diwali, celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains, contributing to a lower voter turnout this year. Neighbouring Mississauga, CBC reported that the City of Brampton was short at least 150 election workers less than a day before the 2022 municipal election because of Diwali.

Masooma hopes the newly elected candidate will “spread equality among everyone, despite different cultures, religion or ethnicity, and do good in Mississauga.”

As for watching the election results, Bajwa said, “I’m going to be at my campaign office with my team to see how it all goes down.”

To the newly elected officials, Muhammad said, “They have a large responsibility, which comes with a lot of power. Make sure every step you take [that] everyone is satisfied with the results.”

Nairah Ahmed / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer