The Electoral Commission recently published an excellent blog post exploring young adults’ attitude towards electoral participation following the Scottish Council Elections, where sixteen and seventeen year olds were able to vote for the first time. Some of the data they included was really interesting so we wanted to share the highlights with you. Click here if you would like to read the full article.
One piece of data which is very interesting to us here at Voting Counts is the respondent’s answers to the question ‘Why did you vote?’. As you can see below younger voters appeared to be more likely to vote to ‘create a change’ than other age groups. This suggests a generational change in what voters are looking for in electoral candidates.
The Electoral Commission’s research also found Two in five 16-17s (40%) disagreed with the statement ‘I had enough information on candidates to be able to make an informed decision in the Scottish Council Elections’, significantly more than 35-54s (26%) and 55+ (17%). This shows much more work is needed on voter education in the run up to elections and demonstrates the need for projects such as ourselves in order get young people enable to make informed decisions at election time.
One of the reasons we founded Voting Counts was to empower young adults to make their own decisions rather than being influenced by friends and family however, we admit that sometimes peer influence is positive, especially when it gets young adults turning out to vote! One thing that we think would be a valuable step in helping young adults engage with politics is the ability for young adults to be automatically registered to vote when they receive their National Insurance number, it seems many young voters agree too!
All data and graphs sourced from the Electoral Commission Blog. Make sure you have a read of the full blog post from the Electoral Commission: https://ukelectoralcommission.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/making-your-first-time-count