SO! On the 5 February it’s national voter registration day. It’s a big day for a lot of people, just-turned-18-ers, politicians, civil servants and more. You name them, it’ll affect them.
The turnout at the last election was around 65%. That means nearly a third of eligible voters didn’t have their say at the last election. Of that 35% 6.5 million of them are young people between 18-25. 6.5 million. Let that sink in for a second there. That’s more than the entire population of Norway. That’s just the young people as well. If we were to count the rest of the population, that number would increase to something around the 15 million mark. This massive number of non-voters could shape the country. They have the potential to completely change the outcome of the next general election.
So why do and don’t people vote? Is it really that important for people to vote? I’ve had a chat with a few young people in the team about their views on politics, voting and the reasons why people don’t seem to want to vote!
Alex: I think it’s vital that we improve turnout at the next election. Let’s face it, we’re never happy with the way the country is run, regardless of who we vote for, BUT, we do have the power to make the best of it. When push comes to shove, our politicians are working for us, the general population. The things that would make me vote would be a concerted effort to tackle tax avoidance from large corporations, a thorough curriculum of political education and more general life skills to be taught to young people. We’re passionate and we all have powerful ideas but we’re not taught the best ways to utilise our ideas. We don’t know the best way to challenge local issues and we’re not always prepared when it comes to moving on to employment. Voting is a right which millions of people have fought for over the years and it would be a damn shame to take that right for granted.
Craig: As someone who has not yet had the chance to vote I am really excited that this will be the first chance to have my say. I find politics massively interesting and try to get involved as much as possible. Politics governs our everyday lives. For me, it’s vitally important that people show an interest and have their say in who should govern their country and who make the decisions that affect our everyday lives. Young people and the population in general are very apathetic about politics because of the lack of political education that exists. That’s why I am pleased to see that organisations like Bite the Ballot exist to try to change this!
Anita: I don’t vote because it hasn’t been sold to me as something that I should actively partake in. I am not in tune with what the different political parties have to offer. However, a campaign focused on young voters, the impacts that voting has on us and how are vote can make a change- if any, might help me get registered and voting!
Anisa: As a freshly turned 18 year old, it would be expected that I would register to vote and choose a political party to associate myself with. However I haven’t registered to vote (yet) but it is unlikely that I will vote simply because there is no political party whose views are something which I would be 100% in favour for and so I don’t feel there’s any point of me voting half heartedly for a party who doesn’t have my full support. What would make me vote? A good political partyJ
Hayley: Although being taught a basic overview of the different political parties, I have never registered to vote as I feel I was never too interested in this area or at least it wasn’t sold as anything that would make a huge impact in my life. I now realise this to not be true, however wouldn’t know where to start in terms of choosing to support a party.
Do you vote? Are you registered to vote? Is it worth voting? What are your thoughts on politics in general? Get involved in the discussion on twitter! Thursday 5 February 7pm-7:30pm #LetsTalkVoting #NVRD and follow @natyouthagency.
See you there (digitally)!
*Update* If you missed the debate you can find out what we discussed here.