By ONE Youth Ambassadors, UK
With only a matter of weeks until polling stations open their doors on June 8, and days left to register to vote, I think there is something we need to talk about –
Young people get a bad rap in mainstream media for being disinterested in politics, and it’s often reported that under 25’s have the fewest registered voters of any demographic. With our futures determined by the results of the 2017 snap General Election, young people have a chance to join in the political conversation and be heard. ONE Youth Ambassadors share their thoughts on why voting matters to them:
Sometimes, voting is an opportunity to change the system for the better, like for Rachel from Glasgow:
“As a woman of colour, my demographic is not well represented in politics. Women have overcome many obstacles for the right to vote and many still do not have this privilege. Voting gives us the power to decide how the UK is run. Politicians base their platforms and policies on the voter turnout, the more women who vote the more politics will reflect needs of women in our society. We have to be the change to see the change.”
Jean from London might not be 18, but he knows how important the right to vote is:
“People have fought, suffered and even died for our right to vote: don’t take it for granted
Emily from Birmingham received some wise advice from a friend:
“Something my friend once said: ‘You may not be interested in politics, but politics will always be interested in you’. It’s so important to vote because the outcome will affect all of us, regardless of whether you vote, so you might as well have a say. Everyone has an opinion, no matter how small – make sure you voice it on 8th June, even if you choose to spoil your ballot.”
Have you registered to vote yet? There are only a few more days to go until the deadline on Monday 22nd May. You can do it here.
If you’re not convinced yet, Tajinda from Essex might be able to help:
“Register to vote and head to the polling station on June 8th. Allow your voice to be heard, don’t be silenced, have a say in the way the country is being run. Don’t put the responsibility upon others if we all had that mentality no-one would vote. All these issues impact us, research and stay educated about such matters.”
Erin from Sunderland knows how frustrating it is not to have a say:
“I couldn’t vote in the referendum and it has had such an impact on my future. So now that I have the chance, I feel it is so important to use that right to have some say, however small, on my future.”
In 2015, 34% of registered voters did not vote, earning them the name ‘The ‘Unheard Third’. Surprised? That’s more people than voted for any political party!
Melissa from London will certainly be showing up on June 8th:
“Young people don’t just have a right to have a say: we have a duty. As citizens, as members of a democracy, as people of varying socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities and schools of thought; and, most importantly, as human beings. It’s our responsibility, our privilege, and yes, our right. You have a voice; use it. Don’t live your life without being involved in the future of your country and the making of history. Let’s turn the tide and make sure young people are no longer publicly denounced in the media for failing to turn out. Please, register to vote. Walk into the polling station on 8th June and use your voice.”
And Ollie from Portsmouth wants us to speak up:
“In previous generations people who were denied the right to vote fought on the principle that we all deserve a say no matter our gender or ethnicity. They fought hard! In a world where millions still do not get a say in how their country is run, if you do not speak you will never be listened to.
Not voting means the next government will not count you. You are not important. Even if you spoil your ballot paper, a last alternative, they read your vote out on the night. It counts. However, they do not read out how many people stayed at home. Be important!”
Amanda from Blackburn leaves us with this powerful final thought:
“I’m voting because I refuse to be silenced. I’m voting because my voice matters”