Comment: If you’re a young person, it’s so important you vote

Since the 1990s youth turnout rates in general elections has fallen dramatically.

In 1992 66% of young people voted, whereas only 43% of people aged 18 to 24 voted in the 2015 general election.

If there was a similar turnout to the one seen in 1992 it is very possible that young people could change the outcome of the 2017 election.

What’s more, if a lot of us go out and vote we can make politicians sit up and listen and take the interests of young people more seriously.

Too often, issues that are important to young people are sidelined by politicians simply because we don’t vote.

Why do you think manifestos and election campaigns nearly always focus on older people? It’s because they consistently vote, for example, in the last election 78% of people aged over 65 voted.

In 2015, Sadiq Khan candidly admitted: “If you’ve got a candidate with an hour spare and a choice to go to an old people’s home or a sixth-form college, 99% of campaign managers will say you’ve got to go to an old people’s home.

“That’s because 94% of them are on the register and 77% of them will vote. That is not true of the younger generation.”

We can’t let this continue. The way politicians view us must change and together we can make this change happen, there is power in voting and there are power in numbers.

The only way we can truly make our voices heard and show politicians that we are a political force to be reckoned with is by going out to the polling station and putting a cross on the ballot paper.

Policies passed by parliament and put forward by government impact us, voting is your only chance to decide who governs you.

Since 2010 tuition fees have trebled and  maintenance grants for the poorest have been scrapped.

If these new policies make you unhappy you have the opportunity to go out on Thursday and change things by casting your vote for the party that represents you.

While higher education, and in particular tuition fees, are a big concern to young people these aren’t the only issues facing us today. Zero hours contracts, affordable housing,  jobs, climate change and food banks are just some of the things affecting young people right now.

Politicians listen more to people who vote, so let’s not allow them to ignore the issues facing us. With article 50 triggered we simply can’t afford not to.

It’s more important to vote than ever because there is more at stake in this election. If you want to have a say in who should be in charge of Brexit negotiations and what kind of post Brexit Britain we live in than you must vote.

With the Lib Dems pledging a vote on the final Brexit deal, with the possibility to remain in the EU, the Conservative’s saying they’d rather accept a ‘no deal’ than a bad one and Labour promising a vote in Parliament on the final deal there’s a lot to consider when it comes to which party you’d prefer to handle Brexit.

Even if you’re unsure who to vote for, or don’t support a particular party, you can always vote tactically to prevent the party you like least getting elected or re elected.

Don’t be one of those people who doesn’t go to the polling station because they think their vote won’t count.

Every vote counts.

In 2010 the constituency of Manchester Central had the lowest turnout in the whole of the UK, with overall only 46% voting.

To add to this, in the EU referendum Manchester saw the strongest remain vote in the North West with 60.4% voting remain, but we had the worst turnout in the region. Only 59.8% actually voted, and with the national referendum result being so close this just shows the value there is in voting.

Leaving or staying in the single market, EU migration and border controls are all going to form part of Brexit discussions. If you want a hard Brexit or would prefer to prevent one then your only option is to vote.

With the recent terror attacks, both here and in London, the focus of this election has changed from solely being on Brexit. Questions of security and policing cuts have risen, as well as suggestions of repealing human rights laws.

Whatever your values or your views the best way to express them is in the polling booth tomorrow.

With so much at stake, can you really afford not to vote in what might be the most significant election in a generation? 

Image courtesy of Coventry City Council, with thanks.

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