Inspired by the referendum in Scotland and the debate around reducing the voting age to 16, last night Teen Spirit had their very own election. The evening was an example of how Teen Spirit members are encouraged to think about their growing independence and feel empowered and informed to voice their opinions. 44% of members voted in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 for the next general election with 56% voting for it to remain at 18. Members also voted for the party they would elect if they were eligible to vote with a landslide Labour victory.
In the build up to the ballot we discussed the apparent apathy of the under 25 vote in recent years. In 1992 over 60% of under 25 year olds were voting. A recent prediction by The Hansard Society suggested that this had dropped to 11% with just 1 in 8 certain to vote in the next election in 2015.
Opinions included ‘I’m not into voting, politics doesn’t affect me.’
Others suggested that actually ‘politics shapes changes, affecting travel prices, the health system and schooling’. A significant number of members’ schools have recently been changed to Academies and the impact of this was discussed, with one member stating that now his school was an Academy he didn’t feel there was the same complaints procedure and felt his voice as a student was less valued.
The group also watched this talk about the importance of under 25 year olds voting and the changes that could be made to encourage this including online voting and fining those who do not vote.
The night ended with the results being read and a performance from one of our members of ‘A change is gonna come’ by Sam Cooke.