Election Fever – Not Really

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Election Fever – Not Really??

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With the election round the corner the debate and discussion are varied about whether the age of voting should be brought down to 16 years. With more and more young people feeling politics is for the rich and those well-educated, are we creating a new generation of young people who feel voting is a waste of time.

Recent polls show that people coming out to vote has decreased in the last few elections. Lets analyse for a second. There is a growing pattern of engagement and apathy for young people wanting to vote and get their voices heard and go through a democratic process.  Let take recent Youth Mayor election in some London Boroughs, we see and hear a growing pattern and an increase in young people wanting to part of a democratic voting system. In Tower Hamlets the recent Youth Mayor election a total of 10,000 plus young people came out to vote for their ideal Youth Mayor candidate, that a 72% turnout. Why is this. What created this type of appetite to vote. For a change i feel young people felt that voting was important because the young mayoral candidates had something to offer. The young mayoral candidates spoke on their level and emphasised why voting was important. Manifesto were created which interested young voters on things that mattered and they could relate too.

The young people were able to market their pitch using social media a platform young people are very accustomed too. It’s surprising that while schools and youth centres are pushing for people who attend their school or youth centre to stand as a candidate, the political parties have not captured this and brought their political influences to the forefront supporting these young people or a candidate that can push their political parties agenda within a youth council. I prefer this hasn’t yet happened but its only a matter of time before this is noticed and we see a different style of youth mayor candidates coming forward.

Lets look at some of the lessons that mainstream party and voting campaign projects can learn about how and why its important to engage young people. Young people do want to be listened too and for their issues to be taken account of.

Young people do want to feel part of a democratic process. Current political parties are so far detached with local youth and community issues they need to work hard to engage and foster future supporters to support their campaign and manifesto.

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