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Getting young people to register to vote

(44 Posts)
sunseeker Wed 10-May-17 09:44:02

There are a couple of businesses locally who are trying to encourage young people to register to vote. One is offering a free pint on production of an email confirming they have registered and another is offering a free bag of chips on production of the same email. I have no idea if either of these businesses have any particular political agenda, and I don't care, the more people who register to vote the better. However, I was saddened to hear the response from young people interviewed "if it will get me a free pint its worth doing", "I'll do it for a free bag of chips". Only one said he would definitely vote. I questioned young people I know (late teens early 20s) and they said they would register to get a free pint/bag of chips. When I asked if they would be voting they said no, they weren't interested, it was "boring". I tried explaining to them that voting was about their future but they just weren't interested. How sad.

tanith Wed 10-May-17 10:05:23

There aren't any guarantees that registering means they'll vote and most youngsters don't seem to think it important. I try to encourage all our young family members to vote but I'm not at all sure they take my advice.

MaizieD Wed 10-May-17 11:22:06

I don't think the cynical 'Politicians are just in it for what they can get out of it' sentiment so often expressed by their elders (and we've seen plenty of examples of it on this forum) helps very much in motivating young people to vote.

There may be some politicians of whom this is true but they are probably in the minority. I think most politicians go into it because they genuinely believe that they can make a difference to people's lives and/or the way that the country is run.

There is also the fact that many people feel that their vote has no effect. I thought that after the Referendum more people might be inspired to vote but the turnout in the council elections shows I was quite wrong. Back to low turnouts and voter apathy.

Of course, the Referendum was a case where every vote counted and now we're back to FPTP people have some justification in feeling that their votes don't really count.

One might say that education of the young in how politics and the political system works is key but teachers have so much loaded onto them these days that I don't think they're capable of making much of a difference (or, they're not necessarily knowledgeable enough themselves to teach the subject)

rosesarered Wed 10-May-17 11:29:51

I agree with what you say about politicians Maizie I do think they go into it with good intentions.There is far more money to be made by going into business or other professions than politics.
I don't understand the apathy around voting for young people, I remember being so pleased that I was 18 and could now vote.
Anybody who does it for a pint or a bag od chips hardly deserves a vote.

paddyann Wed 10-May-17 17:07:16

to get them to vote they have to believe their vote will count,we saw that with the Scottish referendum when the vote by 16 and 17 year olds was high.Not sure how the GE will go although our young people stillseem to be engaged with politics and the 16 year olds I know are desperate to get marking their x.

varian Wed 10-May-17 18:32:10

Somehow the power of the internet has to be harnessed to get enough young people to understand the importance of voting. Don't ask me how. Some of them seem to spend half their lives in a virtual world and that is the only way they can be influenced.

Unfortunately the influence is not always for the good. Cambridge Analytical, other "data harvesting" companies and the Putin regime seem to understand how this works a lot better than mainstream political movements.

IngeJones Thu 11-May-17 10:30:09

I don't agree with pressuring or encouraging people to vote unless they are really interested in doing so on their own initiative. What's the point in having more people voting if loads of people are doing little more than saying eeny-meeny-miney-mo before putting their cross, due to not actually being all that interested? I believe people should stay away from the ballot unless they have an actual opinion for an actual reason and hold that opinion strongly enough to have taken the trouble to get themselves registered.

gagsy Thu 11-May-17 11:02:12

I was thrilled when I was old enough to vote and had been taught that it was a duty to do so. No good complaining at what you get if you never bother!

marionk Thu 11-May-17 11:44:49

I think the reason there was such a turn out of young voters in the Scottish Referendum was down to novelty - it will be interesting to see if they are still as keen to vote in the general elections

Yorkshiregel Thu 11-May-17 11:49:08

If youngsters go off to places like Glastonbury instead of voting they cannot grumble when the vote does not go their way. It is not 'cool' to be disinterested in voting for your future.

Yorkshiregel Thu 11-May-17 11:52:15

Some teenagers are more keen than others when it comes to voting. My GS is frustrated that he will turn 18yrs just after the General Election! Some know an awful lot about what they want and they understand politics better than some so called adults do. Maybe they can be reached on 'Facebook'?

daphnedill Thu 11-May-17 11:52:43

It turns out that many of those who went off to places like Glastonbury had sent off a postal vote!

The turnout amongst young people for the referendum amongst young people was much higher than initially thought, because the postal votes weren't counted in exit polls.

The reason their "voice" doesn't count as much as others is that there are fewer of them.

Yorkshiregel Thu 11-May-17 11:55:42

When voting papers are 'misplaced' or late so do not count it is no wonder that youngsters do not bother to turn out. Holding music festivals on voting day doesn't help either. They can see how biased the bbc is and they can see how politicians lie to influence the population so why should they have confidence their vote will count anyway?

Jaycee5 Thu 11-May-17 12:05:57

I think they should just give people a lottery ticket with their ballot paper. It wouldn't need to be a large amount. Maybe ten £10,000 prizes. We try to pretend that people are more high minded than they are but we know that more people will vote for X Factor than politics (although they can vote more than once then so it is hard to know how many more).
There should also be a better system for registering homeless people and other people effectively, if not legally, disenfranchised by their circumstances.

Legs55 Thu 11-May-17 12:16:24

Yorkshiregirl You've got that the wrong way round Music Festivals are planned at least a year ahead particularly ones like Glastonbury. Polling Day coinciding is not the fault of the people who organise these Festivals. Anyway there's always Postal Voting.

My DD has only just started voting at the age of 35, she would often forget until it was too late. She did vote in the Referendum but I doubt she will vote in GE as my newest DGS will only be 2/3 weeks old, I suspect she will have other things on her mindgrin

daphnedill Thu 11-May-17 12:28:36

Both my children (now 19 and 24) voted in the referendum and the 24 year old voted in the 2015 election. She just missed out on the 2010 election, because she was only 17.

I nagged them to vote and to get all their friends to vote. AFAIK they did. It's not easy when elections take place in June, because students are often doing exams, have returned home for the holidays or have gone off on internships or holidays. They have to think ahead to get a postal vote.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 11-May-17 12:30:30

I felt fairly happy to be able to vote when I was old enough. I always say that in the past, 'women didn't chain themselves to railings, endure hunger strikes or chuck themselves under the King's horse' in order for us to say that we can't be bothered.
OTOH, if it feels like political matters are being rammed down our throats it's bound to turn us off.

daphnedill Thu 11-May-17 12:32:31

It doesn't turn me off. I want to find out more.

Sheilasue Thu 11-May-17 12:53:00

Yep agree with lovebeigecardigan. My dad would turn over in his grave (that's an oldie) if I didn't vote and my mum would be hopping mad.
Though not happy with any of the three main parties. Think Corbin is going back to the seventies May a blinking liar, and libs a strange one. And I know a lot of young people who are not too keen on any of the parties.
Perhaps it's time to vote for a new party.

JanaNana Thu 11-May-17 12:57:00

I was 21 when I was old enough to vote for the first time . Going back to those years without 24 hour TV coverage the pressure was on with cars driving around the area using loud speakers to encourage you to vote for whatever candidate. Each party having several cars driving around the areas throughout the day, offering to give people lifts to the polling stations if required. Back then in the late 1960s cars were not part of everyone's life. Many people would walk, cycle or get the bus. My family were mixed voters each having there own firm views and reasons so I did not really know or particularly care at that age who won an election. I think nowadays young people are taught much more about these topics and debate them at uni. I feel it's only as you get a bit older and have lived a bit of life that you really start to take notice and make your choice through considering the pros and cons etc. I believe in Australia that voting is compulsory and do wonder if this should be applied here.

paddyann Thu 11-May-17 13:01:45

my Granny was a suffragette, if any of mine didn't vote they'd have to answer to me....a small baby can be walked in its pram to the polling station so that wouldn't wash as an excuse .Neither does shift work,stations are open for a long time ,its always possible to go before or after work .

Menopaws Thu 11-May-17 13:40:16

Gave my mum her voting card today(90 years old) and she said ..oh they won't miss my vote.., anyway I have applied with her permission to vote by proxy but I don't think it's just the youngsters at fault here

chrissyh Thu 11-May-17 14:31:27

If some young people need a bribe (as small as a bag of chip) as an incentive to vote then maybe they shouldn't be voting anyway.

maisiegreen Thu 11-May-17 14:35:21

I think this would do the trick

radicalnan Thu 11-May-17 14:55:09

Isn't bribe illegal? I don't think I could stand another sodding inquiry.

I think the vote should go back to 21 but they want to bring it down to 16, es it is their future but they lack wisdom at that age.

Chips..........would exclude the annorexics and be discriminatory.