Campaign to encourage young voters in Highland and Islands to register

A campaign which aims to encourage all 15-17 year olds who will be eligible to vote for the first time in the Scottish Parliament election scheduled for May 2016 to sign up and register has begun across Highland and Islands.

The initiative is part of a wider campaign that has been launched nationally across Scotland by the Electoral Commission.

The Highland Council, The University of the Highlands and Islands and High Life Highland are encouraging as many young voters as possible (through schools colleges and youth workers) to add their details to the electoral register before the Scottish Parliament election next year.

The rules on the voting age in Scotland have now changed meaning that, for the first time 16 and 17 year olds will be eligible to take part in elections to the Scottish Parliament and at local elections in Scotland.

Bill Gillies, Electoral Registration Officer for Highland and Western Isles said: “The lowering of the voting age in Scotland means that 15-17 year olds can now be included on the electoral register. Not everyone may know about this change which is why we are working with the Electoral Commission to raise awareness and to encourage registration.”

“It’s really important that those who will be 16 or 17 by next May don’t miss out on having their say because they didn’t know that they could register or because they don’t know how to register.”

Andy O’Neill, Head of Scotland Office at the Electoral Commission said:  “At the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, we saw that young people are politically engaged and that they want to vote. But to be able to take part in elections, you must be registered. It’s easy to apply to register online now at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote in just a few minutes.”

As well as the launch of the new campaign to encourage young voters to register, households will have received an enquiry form asking them to check that the details for the household are correct on the electoral register.

The aim of the form is to ensure that the electoral register is as up to date and complete as possible. Residents are advised to check and return the form as promptly as possible.

Anyone who has any questions can contact the electoral registration team at:
Electoral Registration Office, Moray House, 16-18 Bank Street, Inverness IV1 1QY
Phone: 0800 393783 Email: ero@highland.gov.uk or alternatively visit www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

27 Aug 2015
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