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Getting the younger generation to vote

(52 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 30-Jan-14 15:42:35

According to Bite the Ballot, in 2010 only 44% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted, while 76% of those aged 65+ cast their vote. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Are the figures surprising? When did you first vote? Do you/would you encourage your grandchildren to register to vote? And, most crucially, how do you get them to take more of an interest?

goldengirl Thu 30-Jan-14 17:01:36

I've always voted in national elections but my children haven't - at least not regularly jas far as I'm aware. I doubt whether they've voted in local elections.
I'm not surprised by the figures. Young people think they can't make a difference when it comes to politics and I must say I get very frustrated at the rhetoric that gets handed out. The poor publicity some MPs get doesn't help either.
It is difficult to encourage young people to vote - the celebrity culture is far more immediate and appealing - who wants to vote for some posh folk who haven't a clue about life at the raw edge?
Some schools teach politics which I think is great. It's yet another subject for teachers to contend with but perhaps is more immediately relevant than some other subjects. Education should change with the times and perhaps that's a clue

annodomini Thu 30-Jan-14 17:21:30

My DGD, who always watched Question Time and talked to me about politics, having helped me to deliver party leaflets in her childhood, was 18 in time for the last general election and was thrilled to have the vote. She chivvied her friends to use their vote. She was very taken with Nick Clegg's first broadcast debate, as were many other young people, and is now sadly disillusioned, not only with him but with politics in general. We need a fairer electoral system to attract potential voters. And I don't mean the wishy washy system for which we were asked to vote in that very badly handled referendum.

Humbertbear Thu 30-Jan-14 18:20:03

I voted as soon as I was able to - at the age of 21! I now have a postal vote and always photocopy it so my grand children can practice voting. It's never too early to learn. I can't imagine someone not using their vote. Everything is political - benefits, taxes, pub opening hours, NHS. Everyone has a stake in who is in power.

Charleygirl Thu 30-Jan-14 18:23:03

I did not vote until my mid 20's because I was not on a local electoral register, seeming to be on the move with training and then work. I do not think that I have missed a vote since then.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 30-Jan-14 18:56:58

Probably best if they don't vote. Most eighteen year olds don't know enough about what is going on in the world, or the country. Think voting age should start at twentyone. Or even twenty-five.

Most young people are mainly interested in their own lives at that age. Quite rightly probably.

Ana Thu 30-Jan-14 19:35:04

Labour says they plan to give 16 year olds the vote if they win the next election. Heaven help us! hmm

POGS Thu 30-Jan-14 19:46:50

I don't think the age limit should be reduced to 16 but that has been discussed on a thread before.

I did vote when I was younger but I voted for the party my parents voted for, I was ignorant of politics and it was at a time we had a class divide more than it ever is now. It is obvious that when we were younger we did not have the media coverage we have today to get us interested or understand how politics works.

I am interested in politics now but only over about the last decade. I think T.V. progs. such as Question Time, This Week, Daily Politics are getting an audience with the younger generation which is excellent. I think the fact Parliament is live on our T.V's daily is brilliant and it is invaluable to assess politic thoughts of your own.

Having said that I have asked kids I know what they feel about voting and they all say I don't understand it, or I don't really care. I still think they would vote the way their parents do, that's if their parents vote. confused

POGS Thu 30-Jan-14 19:48:23


My typing is slow, my post was not in answer to yours re 16 year olds voting. Peace. [Dove emoticon]

Ana Thu 30-Jan-14 19:52:23

POGS, we seem to be in agreement anyway! smile

Ana Thu 30-Jan-14 21:01:30

(Not that I was about to go to war with you if we weren't...confused)

Eloethan Thu 30-Jan-14 22:05:31

I have always voted but am very disenchanted now and am wondering what to do at the next general election. I loathe this government but I'm not particularly impressed with the alternatives.

Like anno, I've come to think that the voting system must change if people are to feel they can make any difference whatsoever, particularly in seats that are strongholds for one party or another. I also agree that the previous referendum re changing the system was an absolute fudge and fiasco.

There was, and is, virtually no discussion as to the advantages and disadvantages of the first-past-the post system as opposed to various types of proportional representation. In fact I feel there is very little in-depth discussion about politics as a whole - just soundbites and a succession of interviews where politicians spout the party line and try to keep talking to avoid in-depth questioning.

Joan Thu 30-Jan-14 22:31:18

We have to vote here in Australia - well, you have to turn up and put in a voting paper, but you can leave it blank. These are called informal votes and there is usually about 3%.

We also have a preferential system: you put a 1 against your first preference, 2 against your second etc. If no candidate gets 50%, the second preferences are counted as full votes. For instance, I always vote Labour 1, Greens 2, Independents in order of what they are like, and Tory last.

I think the system is the best I've ever known. It also means they have to make it easy to vote - polling booths everywhere, and postal votes as an option. You can ring up any party and ask for a postal vote, and a little group of people representing the main parties call and pick up such (sealed) votes, if requested, eg from bed-bound people

The counting system is good too. They are counted where they are cast, with scrutineers from every party watching over their shoulders. Disputed ones are put in a special pile. The counts are rung in to the electoral commission, after ensuring the number of votes cast equals the number of names crossed off the electoral roll in the booth.

If it is a close call, an electoral commission expert rules on the disputed ones later.

I regard it as fair and foolproof. Of course, the Tories want to get rid of compulsory voting, but they haven't managed it yet.

absent Fri 31-Jan-14 00:17:32

jinglbell Voting is about what is happening in and to your life whether you are 18 or 80. I certainly had strong political opinions at the time of my first opportunity to vote – and my vote wasn't in agreement with my mother's political affiliations. In fact, it has never been. (My father didn't have a vote in the UK because he was "an alien" – I love that phrase.)

grannyactivist Fri 31-Jan-14 02:10:00

I always turn out to vote, but confess that I often feel my vote is worthless because I live in an area where if 'you pinned a blue rosette on a pig' it would be voted into office. (That quote is from a local diehard Tory who was complaining about our local MP.) confused
In the last local election I spoilt my ballot paper because there wasn't a candidate I was prepared to vote for, but I wanted to register my displeasure.
I also had strong political views from a young age and was (non party) politically active from the age of sixteen.

Gally Fri 31-Jan-14 03:14:04

I have voted at every election, whether it be national or local, since I was 21. I think it should be obligatory, as it is here on Australia. Women died to achieve the right to vote and there are many countries in the world where both men and women would 'kill' to be able to vote. We are so lucky and shouldn't forget it.

Joan Fri 31-Jan-14 06:34:39

I was so excited at my first vote in 1964 when I was 19. I went to the polling booth with my Dad: it was on Old Bank Road, Mirfield, and Dad's Labour party friends were all there. There was a happy atmosphere, and of course, Harold Wilson's Labour party won.

I have never failed to vote, in the UK or here in Australia.

Yes, women fought and died for us to have that right, and I never forget that.

Of course, much as I admire the Australian electoral system, no system can beat the power of the press, and we had the Murdoch right wing press against us last September, blatantly,shamelessly, and totally biased. Australians are not very political, and Murdoch stole the election imho, resulting in that loathsome, misogynist, homophobic, religious, right wing ratbag Abbott becoming PM.

Oh well - they are learning the hard way. He is NOT popular now, only 4 months later.

Joan Fri 31-Jan-14 06:36:24

Yes - I know I'm biased too - but I don't own 70% of the local media. In fact, my letters to the editor before the election were not published, even though they were polite.

Aka Fri 31-Jan-14 07:22:56

It's about time voting was updated so people can vote online. That way we might capture more young voters.

absent Fri 31-Jan-14 08:00:28

Aka I agree – but they are more used to voting people out (Big Brother etc.) than voting people in.

Aka Fri 31-Jan-14 08:06:44

That may not be altogether a bad thing Absent hmm

absent Fri 31-Jan-14 08:23:33

All in favour but the system doesn't work that way. Maybe there should be tick boxes rather than crosses which suggest negative rather than positive votes.

gillybob Fri 31-Jan-14 10:54:15

Its the same where I live grannyactivist. The Labour party in my town is so complacent they need do nothing at all. There is no healthy competition and no chance whatsoever of any other party "getting in". I have always said a monkey could stand in this constituency as long it was a Labour Monkey!

I am not sure about 16 year olds getting the right to vote and what the motif is behind this. I can however see how easy it would be to brainwash students into believing that "voting for any other party will lead to your personal downfall and you will have student debts coming out of your ears for ever and ever if you don't vote for us" (kind of thing) but what next? votes for 14 year olds, 12?

annodomini Fri 31-Jan-14 11:25:17

absent, if a voter puts a tick in a box instead of a cross, it is accepted as valid.

Granny23 Mon 03-Feb-14 02:44:27

Going back to the original question I realise that it is not in the interests of the over 65s as a group to encourage younger people to vote. If very few young people vote then the older (and wiser?) people have a disproportionate influence on the result.

However that thought will not stop me from doing everything I can to persuade the young to vote but only if they vote the way I tell them grin