Why don’t young people vote?

Only 69% of 18-34 year olds are registered to vote in the UK, compared to 95% of people aged 55+.

If somebody gave you the opportunity to decide the future of your country, would you just walk away? How can we pass up opportunities to change the world for us and for future generations?

This could be because they have had more time to register…or is there a deeper reason?

Although there are many different ballots and elections that young people do care about, and that will affect them, many never vote.

We spoke to Chris Roy from Cornwall Council on the issue and he said:

“One of the main reasons why young people don’t register to vote is because we of lack of information. Many people don’t know which information is factual and which is not. They get very confused and end up not registering at all.

“Often they don’t think that their voice is important and the ‘Hear Our Voice’ campaign is to help them realise that their vote does count. Some parents do pressure their children, but at the end of the day, what you do at the voting booth is entirely up to you.

“One of the ways in which we can help get more people to vote – and therefore a better chance at a completely democratic decision- is by educating people more on why voting is important and why people should register.

“It is not only young people, but some older people would also benefit form learning about how to register online.”

In the UK, we pride ourselves on our Democratic Government and everyone’s right to vote. However, if not everybody votes, is it a true democracy?

In the recent Brexit referendum, 73% of 18-24 year olds voted to stay in the European Union. That is compared to 52% of 35-44 year olds and 40% of people aged 65+. 

However, only 53% of 18-24 year old actually voted. If that 47% had voted, the whole result could have been different.

So really, who decided? Many young people have protested against the result to leave the EU, but if many of them didn’t vote, how can they be disappointed?

Do people have the right to protest against something that they haven’t tried to change?

There are many different important reasons on why everyone needs to register to vote. It is not just being able to vote in elections (which is very important for a democratic result).

It can also help you when you apply for credit or when getting a job as many employers check that you are on the electoral register.

Reported by Ruby Ashby and Saskia Beechey-Newman

BBC School Report