Young people urged to vote as election looms

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Make-shift sign outside the venue on Wood Street. Pic © Sarah Almond JMU Journalism

Local politicians have been working together to give first-time voters a crash course in politics and urge them to register in time to participate in the General Election.

As the December 12 election gets closer, city councillors from the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties visited students in Liverpool to talk to them about the poll and offer insight into where they believe students should put their vote.

Organisers say representatives from Conservative and UKIP parties were also invited to join the discussion, but declined to attend.

The one-off event was staged by students at performing arts school, Rare Studio Liverpool, where they handed out free food before the talk in their ‘Pizza and Politics’ night.

Lead organiser, Ellis Howard, told JMU Journalism: “Young people feel like politics is far away, but one thing that isn’t far away is pizza! We did this to get as many people here first of all, and then they can get their questions asked.”

The students’ main concerns focussed on topics such as climate change, Brexit, and the electoral process, with questions on what the different parties will do for them as young people.

In the live Q&A, Green Councillor Tom Crone said: “Young people shouldn’t feel scared or threatened to vote, it’s their voice that matters. In 2016, not many people knew about Brexit and what they were voting for, but now you have that opportunity to learn.”

According to government statistics, only one in three young people aged 18 to 35 have registered to vote in the UK.

This can have a massive impact on the way the election will turn out, and people were encouraged to register before the deadline of November 26th.

YouTube: Sarah Almond

Labour Councillor Sarah Morton mentioned in the session how important it is for everyone in the room and people alike to participate.

She said: “The youth vote will 100% swing the election. That is why we need you.”

In an interview with Lib Dem Councillor Kris Brown, he told JMU Journalism: “Politics is so important to every generation who votes but particularly for young people because it will affect their future.

“Two of the biggest issues we are dealing with are Brexit and the climate emergency, and that will have an ongoing effect on the lives on young people. You can make a real change in the future of those issues and the voices that come after them.

“I think politicians could always do more to engage young people, but putting on events like these is important for them to ask questions directly and clear up their confusions.”

 

About Sarah Almond, JMU Journalism