In the 2013 local elections it’s estimated that just 32% of 18-24 year olds voted, in comparison with 72% of those aged over 65. Current research suggests that there are over 800,000 young voters who have not registered to vote. Far from being “the future” of policy-making, we seem to be collectively leaving the reins in the hands of our elders. Who knows, maybe that’s less scary a prospect to those of you who haven’t met my nan!
With turnout rates for young voters so low, having fallen significantly in recent years, there’s increasingly less incentive for politicians to take notice of our priorities and concerns. This has a knock-on effect on any number of campaigns we run aimed at policy-makers, from LGBT+ asylum rights to gender-neutral passports. Especially within the LGBT+ community, a vicious cycle of disillusionment and under-representation has been born. As policy becomes less representative of our interests, more and more people conclude that politics has little to do with them. But so also do politicians conclude that the views of young people have little to do with them.
So where do we go from here? How do we make sure that student-led campaigns still get the attention they deserve? The simple answer is vote; register at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and take a wander on the day to put a cross in a box. Where you put that cross is up to you, but you might find it useful to take a look at the SU’s political societies which are all currently free to join. Joining any of the political societies at Warwick in no way makes you a member of their respective parties, it doesn’t confer any kind of affiliation or voting promise, and your society membership is completely confidential. I just joined all four!
Warwick Pride President
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