My name is Jasmine and I am currently on work experience in Gill Furniss MP’s Parliamentary office. I was asked to do some research into youth voter registration and young people’s engagement and participation in politics. Here’s what I found out.
Youth Voting In The EU Referendum
I looked at the voting trends of different age groups in the EU Referendum in June 2016. I'm looking at that vote in particular because it was an important vote with a large turnout. Here are the voting statistics of young people.
The 18 - 24-year-old age group was the age group with the highest Remain vote, but the lowest turnout, which suggests that the overall vote would have swung more towards Remain if their age group had a higher turnout.
Also if 16 - 17-year-olds were allowed the vote, as they were in the Scottish Referendum in 2015, the outcome of the referendum may have leant more towards Remain as this age group was estimated to have a very high Remain vote - if they were eligible to vote in the referendum - as well as a high turnout.
This is interesting because Brexit is more likely to affect younger people than it would older people, as they will have to live with the outcome, whether Britain leaves the EU or not, further into the future.
The data clearly shows that the younger the age group, the lower the turnout. The only age group that would break this pattern would be the 16 - 17 age group if they had voted, as it was estimated that they would have had a 75% turnout which is over twice as high as the 18 - 24 age group.
Youth Engagement And The Labour Party
The Labour Party has a youth wing called Young Labour. Founded in 1993, Young Labour is the biggest political youth movement in the whole of western Europe. There are Young Labour groups across the country, regularly meeting and holding events such as campaigns, political discussions and debates to try and engage young people in both local and national politics.
How Can Youth Participation Be Increased?
The estimated turnout of the 16 - 17 year old age group had they voted in the EU Referendum suggests that young people do want the vote and would vote. Youth participation can be increased by more publicity about how they can engage in politics. Including more politics in the curriculum could also increase participation because more young people will understand what goes on in Parliament and this may enable them to show a greater interest in politics. Another way to increase participation is to reach out to youth groups to get young people involved and enable them to engage more.
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