YOUNG people are today being urged to use their right to vote and register for the next General Election.
Party neutral organisation Bite the Ballot is encouraging anyone aged 16 or over to add their name to the electoral register as part of the first ever National Voter Registration Day.
It says young people aged between 16 and 24 are currently the most under-represented age group on the electoral register and by registering to vote, young people are sending a message to government that they are a vote worth winning, not one to be ignored.
In South Gloucestershire, there has been an increase in the amount of young people registering for their vote and a number of schools are holding a special ‘student voter registration day’ today.
In the run up to National Voter Registration Day, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Ian Boulton (Lab, Staple Hill) and officers from the council’s democratic services department have been visiting sixth form students to explain the importance of voting, why people should vote, and provide background information on how politics and decision making affects everyday life.
It included presentations to explain the various tiers of government - local, district, national and European, and discussions about the way council decisions are made. There were also interactive group workshops where students held a mock election to learn about voter turnout and the count process.
Cllr Boulton said: “It is really important that young people register to vote as it enables them to have their say on important issues that affect many aspects of everyday life.
“Your vote is your chance to play a role in society.
“ Some people are quick to complain when they disagree with politicians, but if you don’t register and don’t vote, you’ll miss out on your chance to influence change.”
The campaign is also encouraging people to register to help when applying for a student loan, opening a bank account or buying a mobile phone.
For more information contact South Gloucestershire Council democratic services on 01454 863030 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org