By Olivia Richards and Rhiannon Jones
As the recent turnout of the general election increased by 9.3% compared to 2001, there has also been an increase among individuals who are under 18 and want their say in future elections. Here are some ways to get involved and make sure that everyone has a right to contribute politically:
- Form a debating group – Each of you can represent a different party and talk about global issues. You might even see another side to the argument and change your mind on certain topics.
- Volunteer for charities such as health charities that want to make changes to laws and policies. This is a great opportunity to meet other people who are passionate about the same things as you!
- Host a mock election in school – This is beneficial for the whole school, as it lets everyone contribute and form opinions. Having your own polling station will prepare you for the process of voting when you turn 18.
- Sign online petitions – There are petitions to change all kind of policies, for example: legislation regarding animal testing. If there are 10,000 signatures to the petition, the government will respond. You could help make up these numbers if there are issues you are passionate on any of these topics.
- Campaigning – You could create posters and post on social media to raise awareness of issues that are important to you.
There are many benefits towards younger individuals taking part in such activities. One of which is having the ability to develop your own opinion. This ensures that more people will engage in political decision making and vote, as more and more will have a better understanding of how democracy works. Imagine the confidence you will develop by practicing the election process. Creative thinking is also an essential skill for everyday challenges therefore, representing different parties is a good way to come up with various ideas on how to improve the future of others.
Even though you might not be old enough to vote, campaigning is a great way to contribute and make your opinion heard. You never know who you might persuade or influence.
Whatever your age, there are opportunities for everyone. Currently, ‘Youth Parliament for Wales’ are planning to form a youth parliament where younger individuals can express their opinions on various topics that concern us all.
Interested in volunteering for the WCIA like Olivia and Rhiannon? Read about their experiences here.