Voting Part 2 – Why Should I Vote?
If you live in the UK, America, France, Germany or 111 other counties then you have some sort of democracy. You are lucky as this means that, to varying degrees and at varying ages, you have a say in the running of your country. This is usually in the form of a vote and commonly is for those aged over 18. This article and the rest of the voting series focuses on the UK government system because that is my democracy but if you don’t live in the UK I encourage you to go and find out about your system of government.
In the UK a lot of people are pretty unhappy with our system and the people running it. A lot of people, particularly the young, are feeling disheartened and unvalued by it. A lot of people express this dissatisfaction by not using their vote. At the general election in 2015 just 66.1% of the electorate (people who have a vote) got out there and voted. But I am here to tell you that this is not the way forward.
1. Currently approximately 70% of the UK population is registered to vote, the other 30% is made up by people who could register but haven’t and people who can’t register (e.g because they are too young). If you can vote you are not just representing yourself but those of the 30% who can’t vote. Many of those people would love to have a vote, don’t waste yours, don’t let them down.
2. Sicking with the statistics, in the last election only 24% of those eligible to vote, voted for the conservatives, our current ruling party. Now part of that is down to the way out voting system works (first past the post), but a lot of that is down to the 1/3rd of the voting population who didn’t vote. Do you want a ruling party who only has a ¼ of the populations votes? Every single person who gets out there to vote helps make sure that we have a majority that reflects the wishes of the people’s majority.
3. Government after government continually gives under 25s a hard time with rising tuition fees, differences in minimum wage, no affordable housing and not helping provide job and training opportunities. Sadly, this isn’t going to change until the major parties recognise the younger generation as powerful voters. And with just 43% of 18-24 year olds voting in the 2015 election this doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon. There is a reason over 65 year old continually get good deals – its because this age group has the highest voter turnout and so the parties recognise their power!
4. So combine points 1 and 3 and what do you get? The true trickledown effect. If more 18-24-yearolds voted then the government would care more about 14-18 year olds who will have soon have a vote, so will make changes to education and other areas important to this age bracket that 14-18- year-old actually want. They work for you- but only if you vote!
5. A bit of history. Before 1832 you had to be male, over 21 and own a property of a certain value to vote. Also your vote was not secret. After 1932 a few more men of power were given the right to vote It wasn’t until 1918 all men over 21 and all women over 30 could now vote. In 1928 women were given the same voting rights as men. Finally in 1969 both men and women over 18 could now vote. Having a vote is a privilege and a relatively new one!
6. Lastly not voting is not a way of expressing your discontent, unfortunately the government don’t care all that much about the 30% that didn’t vote. Nobody is sitting in office going “oh dear 1/3 of the voting population didn’t vote we must be doing something wrong let’s make some drastic changes”. They just get on with getting whatever scheme they want through parliament into law. If you want to be heard you actually have to say something. Nobody listens to silence.
I hope I have convinced you to use you vote when you get it. Find out more about how to and what it does in voting parts 2 and 3. Happy voting �
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.