My name is Phoebe, I’m 19 years old, and I live in Kate’s constituency. I’m registered to vote, and about to vote in my first general election.
Since the first talk of a general election and of course since it was formally called, there has been a huge surge in the number of people registering to vote, which is really encouraging. But we need to do all we can to make sure other young people are registering and turning out to vote too – as despite speculation about a ‘Youthquake’ in the 2017 general election, according to the Electoral Commission it is young people who are among the least likely to be registered to vote.
It’s so important to register to vote, particularly in a general election. Politics isn’t something which happens in a vacuum at Westminster and in debates in the House of Commons: politics is decision making which affects our everyday lives. These decisions range from public transport, to tuition fees, to the most important constitutional questions of our time, like Brexit. We’ll feel the impact of these decisions for years to come, so it’s only right that we register to vote, and vote for MPs who we feel will best represent us and our interests in the upcoming general election.
Registering to vote is a really simple process which can be done online in a matter of minutes. Although you must be 18 to vote, you can register if you are 16 and over. The only information you need to register is your address, your date of birth, your nationality and your national insurance number, following the steps online here. If you think you will struggle to make it to the polling station on 12 December, you can also apply for a postal vote in advance here.
As well as being easy to register, voting itself is easy too. Despite recent government proposals to the contrary, you don’t need to bring photo ID to vote in England, Scotland, and Wales. You don’t need to bring your polling card either: all you need to do is quote your name and address at the polling station, and as long as you’re registered, you’ll be able to cast a vote.
Hopefully this explanation goes some way towards demystifying the process of registering to vote and voting itself. It’s so important that as young people we have our say in the next election. Voting is one of our most important civic responsibilities, and something we have to do in order to make our government truly representative.