Throughout the build up to the EU Referendum on the 23rd of June, I’ve spoken to a lot of family, friends and random people in the street about their thoughts and feelings towards the EU, and how these will affect the way they cast their vote. One of the most disheartening things I have heard is that many people, particularly younger members of society, feel so disenchanted by politics in this country that they most likely will not vote at all, and by consequence of this are not even registered to do so. In the perhaps naïve hope that I may be able to change just a few minds, I’ve laid out four reasons for why you, fellow young people, should be registered to vote in just over two and a half weeks time
1. This is most likely the biggest political decision we’ll make in our lifetime.
This is different to normal elections. With General Elections it could be argued that, as they take place approximately every five years, nothing that we vote for is permanent, and so could seem insignificant to you, however, with voices on both the Remain and Leave sides of the argument stating that the result of the upcoming Referendum should be respected and so will therefore be definitive, in all likelihood you will not get your say on this matter again, regardless of the result. The last time a referendum was held on this issue was forty-one years ago, if you are a young person then at the very least you will have to live with the outcome of the Referendum for the majority of your adult life, I’d argue that’s not a decision you want to pass up on having a say on.
2. The outcome will have a real impact on how you live.
Even as a keen fan of the democratic process I have to concede that sometimes it’s hard to see just how the outcome of a vote has impacted upon you, so much so that just a few weeks ago I decided to forgo the opportunity to vote for my local Police & Crime Commissioner on the basis I had absolutely zero clue how the people in these positions actually benefitted either me or indeed anyone else. Come the 23rd of June however, I’m in no doubt that the result will fundamentally affect each and every one of us, whether it is our ability to travel across (or indeed work in) the EU freely, or even our ability to afford a house, the outcome of the Referendum will impact on us all, so don’t let others make the decision for you.
3. Old people vote. Old people are old.
It’s a well known fact that turnout amongst older generations at election time is far higher than amongst their younger equivalent, therefore if we do not vote ourselves, then we leave the decision on our own future in the hands of those who will not have to live with the consequences of either a vote to remain or a vote to leave anywhere near as long as we will. Whilst I am not saying that people from older generations can afford to be complacent with their vote, it is probably fair to argue that there is a difference of opinion between younger and older generations on a whole variety of topics, and the opinions of young people simply will not be heard if we do not vote for them.
As a by-product of this, by turning out to vote, young people will soon find that those in government listen to their voices far more. As a result of young people not voting, governments know they can get away with implementing policies that will have an adverse affect on the young, as it will have little to no impact on their support at the ballot box. By registering to vote in the EU Referendum, you automatically register to vote in all future elections held in the UK.
4. “It’s not even f***ing hard”.
As so eloquently pointed out to me by my good friend Charlie Spargo, editor-in-chief of The Mancunion according to his LinkedIn profile (worst name drop ever?), it’s really not hard to register to vote. The entire process can be carried out online here, and only takes a couple of minutes. I know because I did it the other day, albeit unnecessarily because it turns out I was in fact already registered, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is especially true following recent legislation from the Government which left an awful lot of young people unregistered, as they can no longer be registered by the head of the household and must register individually themselves. In order to be eligible to vote in the EU Referendum, you must be registered by Monday, so make sure to do it now and don’t delay.
In the likely event that you skimmed over the paragraphs above, just to reiterate, you can register to vote here – http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote.
You can follow me on Twitter here – @Briggs_AndyJ.